Monthly Archives: August 2013

Full Circle

Many sewists start out sewing circle skirts, so suprisingly this is my first. I found some polyester gaberdine in my local op-shop but didn't buy it because I thought I had too much fabric (well, I do but what sewer doesn't) and didn't have a plan with what to make with it. But then, I started thinking about making a circle skirt while I was on holiday and realised that fabric would have been perfect. I kicked myself for not buying it when I had the chance. So it was with little hope that I went back to that op-shop weeks later to check out their fabric bin, and lo and behold, there is was, still waiting for me! To top it all off, the lady that sold it to me only charged me $4.50 for the 4 and a half metres. That's only 50c/m (they usually charge $2/m which is still cheap though)! It was meant to be. But this skirt had to wait it's turn unitl after I finished making my first Elisalex and then the peplum top.

I looked at a few tutorials like this one from By Hand London and just used the measurements I wanted. I was very eager to start this project and cut it all out right after I finished the peplum top, but then I froze. I haven't had a great track record with getting skirt waistbands to sit right and I think it's because in the past I've been a bit slack with using interfacing when necessary. So, it just sat there for about a week until I found the courage to continue (I'm such a wuss!). I don't know why I was worried, I've come a long way with my sewing since my first few skirts.
I included in seam pockets (big suprise) and used an invisible zip from my stash. (I only had a white zip so I think I'll paint the zipper pull with nail polish to make it less noticeable.) When I first sewed on the waist band and tried it on, I got this;
So, I unpick that waist band, cut a new one and cut the inside circle (waist) slightly larger, then tried again. Sucess! I let the skirt hang for about 24 hours before I trimmed and evened out the hem. Then I attached some home-made bias tape to the hem and hand stitched to finished. The hand stitching took me FOR-wait for it-EVER. I worked it out and there is about 4.5 metres of hem on this skirt.
When I originally designed this skirt, I was going to have a quote from Pride and Prejudice all the way around the bottom hem. My first idea was to print the quote on some Lesley Riley's TAP and my second was to use my Stained fabric pens and handwrite the quote. After I finished the skirt my husband said it liked it as is, so now I'm not sure if I should add the quote or not. It really was quiet easy, I don't know why I haven't made one before now. My husband likes it so much that he said I need one in red, and when I told him I didn't have any red fabric, he told me I could always go to the fabric store and buy some. Does he understand how much damage I can do at a fabric store? Especially with his blessing?
Total cost of this project: Fabric $3 (I only used about 3 metres of the total 4.5 that I had), dark mid weight fuseable interfacing that I bought for a different project (maybe ~$1), invisible zip (harvested from a failed project), 2 hook and eye closures, home-made bias tape and thread all from my stash.




Filed under Sewing, Thrifting

A Call to Arms!

Or more to the point, to arm my sewing machine. I got a call from my Mum the other morning asking me if I was busy that day, always ominous. My niece (11 yo) and nephew (8 yo) needed to dress up as fairy tale characters at school the very next day. My niece wanted to go as Red Riding Hood, my nephew as the Huntsman. When he told his Nan, she was thinking Robin Hood type costume, he was thinking more Chris Hemsworth. One quick trip to the Op Shop and I had a long sleeve grey t-shirt, a brown jumper and a cool looking belt.

I cut the sleeves off, leaving a slight cap and I unpicked the label. I made the axe from some foam core board and a cardboard tube I stole from a roll of wrapping paper we had. I sprayed the blade with 2 coats of silver spray paint and a few flecks of matt black spray paint.
To finish this costume off, I made a quick scabbard from a toilet roll and duct tape, and slid it on another belt.
The next costume just required a red cape (obvs) and a basket. Given more time I would have bought at least 2 metres of fabric, but as it was a work with what you've got thing, I did just that. I drafted the hood from a hoodie top of mine and cut 4 so it could be self lined. I gathered the rest of the fabric to form the cape and attached it between the layers of the hood. In hindsight, the hood needed more height to give a cool drapey look, but c'est la vie. Please excuse the absolutely awful photo above, it's an iPhone selfie taken in a dirty mirror.
I'm told that the kids loved their costumes so, win!


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Filed under Refashioning, Sewing, Thrifting

Peplum Top

A while back, in my perpetual hunt for a fabric mecca, I journeyed up to a fabric shop in Invanhoe. They claimed to have Melbourne's greatest range of jersey knit fabric, but when I got there I was seriously dissappointed. I was after some great patterned casual knit fabric, but the cupboard was bare and what they did have was rather expensive. As I had made all the effort to drive there (ok, most of the effort was getting my son in and out of the car, but effort is effort) I felt like I should buy something. So, I came home with 1 metre each of a white and cream jersey with no stretch, which promptly went into my stash never to be sewn again (haha yes I meant that pun). Or so I thought, but as I was sewing up my toiles for the Elisalex dress from an old white sheet, I started seeing this top unfold. I barely let my sewing machine have time to miss me between finishing my first Elisalex and making this variation of it.

As I planned to omit the zip I was a little unsure as to how much ease I would need to give myself to be able to get in and out of it easily enough. I cut the centre back piece as 1 whole piece, placing the centre edge of the pattern piece, seam allowance and all on the fold, thinking I would need the extra wriggle room. I didn't, and in the end had to remove all the excess fabric by sewing a seam straight up the middle of the back. So, clearly the fabric had just enough give to leave out the zip without any need to add more ease. I still used the 5/8″ seam allowance and sewed this up using my overlocker. The peplum is a self drafted full circle. I also did change the neckline just a bit. I finished the neck of with binding made from the same fabric, folded the cuffs and just used a straight stitch and used my newly discovered ability to do a rolled hem on the peplum. The hem is a little uneven, as I didn't let it hang at all before I hemmed it, but it's not too bad.

All in all, I love this top and this pattern. I see many more variations in the future.


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Filed under Pattern Modification, Sewing

My Very First Elisalex

And I say very first Elisalex, because it certainly won't be my last. I've read quiet a few bloggers comments on this pattern and, lets just say, it didn't disappoint.

When I first saw this Elisalex dress from Elisalex herself, a little light bulb went off in my head and this dress started designing itself in there. The floral fabric is a vintage sheet I picked up a while back for $1, and used some of for the lining of this coat. The blue fabric is a cotton broad cloth for $7 and matching thread ($3) from Spotlight, the zip was from my stash and the lining was an old white sheet from my cupboard. So, not including the pattern, the total cost of this dress was about $11.

I made two toiles for this dress. Cut size 4/8 but removed 1″ from front and about 2″ from the back and reshaped the bust seams. I took 1.5 cm of shoulder seams, then reshaped the under arm on the two side pieces and also took about 1cm of the middle of the sleeve to adjust for this. I fiddled a bit with the bodice length settling on about and extra 2 cm to compensate for the raising of the shoulder seams. I made my second toile after this and the fit was perfect. I probably could have cut the size 2/6 and eliminated the centre front and back adjustments, but all the other adjustments were to fit my stubby torso. All in all, this was a great pattern to sew up. You'll notice that I didn't make the skirt as called for, I was a little hesistant about the tulip skirt, so I just used a dirndl skirt. Oh, and I added pockets, of course. When you have the power to design your own clothes, why wouldn't you add pockets?

This is also my first attempt at a hand picked zip. It didn't turn out too bad, a little wonky, but not too noticable hopefully. I decided to use the blind hem stitch on my machine for the bottom hem and sleeves, as I thought the small prick stitches echoed those of the hand picked zip.

I actually finished this dress 2 weeks ago, but it has taken this long for all the stars to allign to get it photographed.




Filed under Pattern Modification, Sewing


When I was meandering through the internet last week I was inspired to make terrariums (or terraria if you're that way inclinded) with my daughter. I didn't realise how easy they are to make. The hardest part was finding everything I needed here, and it probably didn't need to be.

All you need are:

  • Glass jar or container
  • Rocks
  • Charcoal
  • Potting Soil
  • Plants
  • Ornaments (optional)

I found some great tutorials and infomation about how go make terrariums like this Martha Steward video and this guy who has heaps of tutorials.

The charcoal I ended up finding was horticultural grade charcoal and was in huge chunks, which I had to try and crush up. We had gold and purple rocks. We found all the plants we used in our terrariums in our own garden. I had actually bought a couple of plants for my terrarium, but they they were too big for my jar, but I'd read/watched a few tutorials that said to look in your garden, so look we did. Most of the plants are just the same type of moss that grows under our lemon tree, but we also used clover and oxalis. I was amazed at all the different types of plants and moss we had growing unsolicited in our backyard. The ornaments were either plastic animals or things we made from air drying clay (painted with acrylic paints and then sealed with PVA glue). My daughter is 4 1/2, the toadstools should be obvious, the sad little guy up the back is my sad attempt at a gnome.

I had so much fun, way more than my daughter, and would have kept making them if I hadn't run out of jars. The jar at the very top was a great find at my local op shop this morning. I'll be keeping a look out for cool jars to make more terrariums in the not-to-distant future. In fact, I've already started making the ornaments for the next lot.

But I think what I really need to make is a miniture TARDIS, now that would be cool. Being a geek is cool, right?


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Filed under Terrarium