Sunday, June 29, 2014


As parents of little ones, there are many milestones; first tooth, sitting, walking crawling, riding a bike swimming etc. etc.  We carefully counted  these milestones and documented them in film. After a few years though the milestones seem to be few and far between and just when we thought we have seen the last of them our children, or at least two of them, turned into teenagers and fresh milestones were met; starting high school,  and learning to drive   spring to mind.  This past week though, there has been a large shift in my parenting.  Courteney turned 18 and is now officially an adult.  Yes, she is still at high school for another 5 months so this will somewhat limit her independence but wow how did this happen!  In honour of the occasion we had not one but two celebrations.  The first was a family meal out and the second a party with her friends.  I wasn't sure what I was going to wear for either night so to cover all bases I made two new items.  The first being a variation on the new Sewaholic Belcarra top.

I always look forward to the release of Sewaholic's new patterns.
The Gabriola skirt didn't float my boat but the impending release of the Belcarra top just about had me shaking with excitement.  I love my Grainline Tiny Pocket Tank and Scout tees but actually wished for a woven too with some shaping.  It is rather ironic then that my very first version is made in a knit.  The knit in question is a cotton knit with a velour print.  I bought it as a short end on Trademe and was influenced by this Blackstone top.

Using my newly acquired Sewaholic Belcarra pattern, I cut my top to size 6 as per my usual Sewaholic sizing.  I did need to run it in at the hips but this was the only alteration required.  To trim the sleeves of the top and for the neck facing, I used black stretch satin. I also added a band of the satin at the bottom to both lengthen the top and add visual interest.


I am really happy with the way this turned out and not only did I wear it to Courteney's birthday celebration, I have worn it out on another couple of occasions as well.  It is set to become a firm favourite. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Scrap Busting

No sewing was done this weekend.  Instead I was in full party mode with rather a large milestone birthday in our house.  No, it was not my own but Courteney's who turned 18.  This involved not one but two nights of celebrations.  As part of the preparations I made two outfits.  After all the idea parenting an adult is quite a change in both my and my husbands life as well.  I didn't get a chance to take outfit photos on the day's so therefore I will need to recreate these this week.  Instead,  here is something I created earlier.

I do have rather a good assortment of work appropriate tops but weekend tees are another matter completely. Last weekend I repurposed two rather useless pieces of knit fabric into a winter version of Burdastyle 2/2013 view 126, this time with long sleeves.

I decided that I wanted a somewhat looser fit though, so combined it with Tessuti Lola tee to get the ideal width in the body.  For the sleeves I used leftovers from this Burdastyle tee and this dress.  I am rather pleased with how this turned out so am determined to find more fabric to make another.  I knew I was onto a winner when Courteney asked me to make her one.  I better keep an eye on this top, or it may just disappear when my back is turned one day!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Merino Dress

Knit dresses are my go to items for work for winter.  I can wear a cardigan but do find my office which has huge glass expanses, can get very hot when the sun is out.  Handknits therefore are not ideal.  A merino knit dress is a completely different matter.  With this dress I was aiming for something different to my favourite knit dress pattern but with a similar success rate, if you know what I mean!

I like wrap dresses so a mock wrap was my starting point.  I did have Vogue 1027 in my collection but wanted sleeves.  I decided to use the bodice from Butterick 5950 but didn't particularly like the figure hugging nature of the skirt so switched it out for Vogue 1250.

The verdict....well I love the bodice on this dress, it sits beautifully.  In my frankenpattern wisdom I added elastic in a waist casing like my Lady Skater but after wearing it a couple of times, I came home from work today and unpicked the casing and removed the elastic.  I feel that the elasticated waist is too much of a feature and I really want it to disappear.  I didn't use elastic in Vogue 1250 so felt it unnecessary.  We will see how this latest modification goes.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I Seem To Be On A Black Bender!

Yes, I realise that the colour of my latest make is anything but interesting but I am trying to concentrate my efforts on need and not just want.  It is somewhat of a delicate balancing act injecting colour into my wardrobe and banishing the black when practicality and lifestyle often dictate that black is the best option which is probably why, at this time of the year, the streets are awash with black.

Miette is a free knitting pattern by Andi Satterlund and has been popping up on blogs everywhere of late.  What drew me to the pattern was theshaping at the waist.  I tend to find anything with waist shaping suits me best so why should a cardigan be any different.

The black wool I chose to make my Miette out of is  Lincraft Superwash which I picked up at Lincraft's 50% off sale at the end of last winter for a mere $30.00.  I have to say, it proved a pain to knit up though.  Firstly, the wool is 8 ply and the pattern is not so I had to knit it to a size 42.  I then had to lengthen it significantly.  I also found knitting the sleeves in the round impossible due to the length of the circular needles I was using.  This is my first attempt at knitting in the round and I am a bit clueless.  Do circular needles come in different lengths?  I know the overall lengths differ but what about the needle part?  Anyho, my solution was to knit from side to side and seam it underneath the arm.  If I hadn't told you the seam was there you would never have noticed!  My second issue was knitting black at night.  Must saying, I am not a fan!  My next project I promise you will be easier on my poor tired eyes!

Overall though, I am pretty happy with the results and my new cardigan has already had quite a few wearings.  Unfortunately the wool I chose is perhaps a little too soft and I am concerned it may not wear very well which is a shame given the effort that goes into knitting a garment.  Time will tell!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Swanndri Inspired Black Coat

Occasionally practicality has to win over pretty and this is certainly the case with my latest project.  It all started with the now former Ellerslie Flower Show in March.  It was a particularly cold, wet and uncharacteristically autumnal week which probably contributed to the demise of the show but it was certainly profitable for coat sellers.  Swanndri, a Kiwi institution, more known for clothing rural people than anything else were selling there outragously thick 100% wool duffle coats at a heavily marked down price.  Courteney bought one, but even marked down these coats were very expensive, although the quality is outstanding.  I decided then and there to turn the black wool blend coating in my stash into something similar. 

Simplicity 2508 was my starting point because I had such great results previously.  The beauty of this pattern is the endless possibilities for variations and I planned on taking full advantage.  The other thing I like about this coat is the raglan sleeves.  This means, should I want to, and I regularly do, that I can layer up underneath and am still able to have full movement of my arms.  Something that is not always possible with a set in sleeve.  I used the hood from the Sewaholic Minoru pattern and cut this slightly angled to attach to the neckline of the coat using Courteney's duffle coat as a guide.  Now because this fabric is quite light weight for our cold winters, I used left over polar and microfleece to interline it.  None of the pieces match but because it is sandwiched between my outer and my lining it won't be seen.  I lined it using leftover DKNYC lining from my Minoru coat and plain black satin lining for the hood.

The only change I made to the coat was to stitch the flaps down.
 After completing them, I felt they just looked a little busy and I didn't like seeing the black lining when they potentially blew up.  If I had left them as they were, I would have required buttons to hold them down and felt with the pockets, wrists and main buttons I already had plenty.  Oh, and on the subject of buttons, I did briefly consider buying buttons for this coat but couldn't resist raiding my rescue button stash.  Strictly speaking the front buttons don't match the sleeve buttons but they are so close as to be unnoticeable.

The length is great for driving while still being adequate to cover a long top.  The colour may be a little sombre but it goes with everything and I am certainly not going to complain about that!
It already has had a ton of use and is the first coat I grab when I leave for work.  It may not be the most flamboyant of coats but is probably one of my favourite projects to date this year.

In case you are unfamiliar with New Zealand, the location for my photos is the stunning historic Dunedin railway station.  There was a farmers market being held while these pictures were taken so we had to snap quick in between people, cars and even a tour bus crossing our path.  Being from a city that has lost its historic character, I now really appreciate the charm of these beautiful old buildings.  The old saying that you don't realise what you have until it is gone is sadly true.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

End Of May Wrap Up

It appears that I haven't been very productive in May but the reality is, that Me Made May got in the way of photographing my makes. I have a couple of large projects lined up for the next couple of days but more on that later.  

End Of May Wrap Up

Printed Thurlows
Fabric $6.00
Zip $2.49
Pattern (used before) $0.00
Total $8.49

Blue Lady Skater
Fabric $12.00
Pattern $0.00
Total $12.00

Total $20.49

Total RTW $0.00

Monday, June 2, 2014

Me Made May 2014 - Week Four

Day 24

19 degrees celcius - rugby with my sons wearing Burda Style 2/2013 tee and wool Renfrew.

Day 25

16 degrees celcius - shopping and drinks with friends.   Wearing Lekala jacket and Tessuti Alexa in merino.

Day 26

10 degrees celcius (very cold, snow flurries) - Work wearing me made wool cardigan, modified Vogue 1247 skirt and merino Renfrew.

Day 27

10 degrees celcius (after a -4 degree start).  Work wearing a me made hand knitted wool cardigan and Vogue 1247, modified.

Day 28

15 degrees celcius (-1 degree start).  Work wearing  Simplicity 2508 wool coat over Tessuti Alexa tee in merino and Vogue 1247 in wool.

Day 29

21 degrees celcius - work.  Wearing Simplicity 4589 and Colette

Day 30

14 degrees celcius - road trip.  This photo taken in Oamaru Victorian Precinct prior to Oamaru on Fire. Wearing Jalie 2795 and Burda Style 2/2010.

Day 31

13 degrees celcius - Road trip Dunedin.  Wearing Jalie 2795 in boiled wool and Burdastyle 2/2013 tee.

Well,  it is all done and dusted for another year!  I debated long and hard about participating this year due to time constraints, but actually the whole process was not as difficult as I expected.   While my wardrobe isn't vast, it is practical and therefore most of my clothing does get worn on regular rotation.  In saying that, there really wasn't anything worn during the last month that had to be dragged kicking and screaming from the deep dark recesses.  I think the items that didn't make the cut, are probably things that could be culled or re purposed in some way.  

So what did I learn from this exercise....I still love my Jalie 2795 hoodies and these are go to weekend jackets.  With that in mind, while in Dunedin this past weekend, I visited The Fabric Store and may have walked out of the shop with a lovely piece of wool boucle to make a new jacket.  I also find shell tops invaluable both as weekend wear and for work so a couple of pieces of cotton silk also managed to follow me home.  While in the store I learnt that a new Fabric Store will be opened in The Tannery in the next few months having been absent since the February 2011 earthquake took care of the previous one.  I am really looking forward to this opening, although fear it could be dangerous!