Belated Capital Chic Patterns Winner & blogging over the pond…

Sorry life has been hectic with a ridiculous number of birthdays in the family… family in town visiting… workload issues and so on… blah whatever… status normal like for everyone…


The winner of the Capital Chic Patterns Giveaway (now closed) is Olivia! I’ve just sent Olivia an email… I had 95(!) entries!

Manhattan skirt, Capital Chic Patterns

Manhattan skirt, Capital Chic Patterns

ummmm, I do have yet another giveaway coming up soon… so you never know your luck next time :-) I know the giveaways are in overdrive at the moment but I love being able to send something back out into the world. I consider myself quite blessed and I like to pass on some of that joy. Corny but true.


… at Handmade by Jane… about accessories for OWOP… hop on over… in fact you might spot an unblogged Sewaholic Hollyburn…. (I promise I will blog it soon!)

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a white tank and a scarf

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a white tank and a scarf (and a little crushed). Sorry this is the tank I wear under shirts for warmth… hence the fit… hence the scarf! Plus it was chilly – hence the closed-in heels.

Fashionary – Giveaway

Fashionary contacted me several weeks ago and asked me if I would like to review their products. I was super excited because I really do love these products,they are great quality, simple to use, thoughtfully produced and useful resources.

I said yes because I already owned a Fashionary A5 Sketchbook and I love it. My sister-in-law gave it to me for my birthday, purchased from Stitch 56.

Fashionary A5

Fashionary A5 – I love this book

I’m more than happy to sing the praises of their products and share them with you. The A5 sketchbook is a hardcover book, lovely paper, three lightly printed figures per page and they also have oodles of useful information (reference book lists; websites; catwalk calendar, illustrations and names for a vast range of jackets, lapels, hats and more; as well as fabric type descriptions and common prints).

If you can’t draw – you can with a Fashionary. Thanks to the very faint figures on every page, you can get the proportions bang on every time. Seriously, you will feel like Leonardo Da Vinci (with ears). Some bloggers do amazing watercolours, colour and add prints to their designs (just check out Handmade by Carolyn who used this concept to document her paper doll project). Me? I’m a line drawing kinda gal. I’m that person who pretty much only looks at the line drawings on pattern websites. I love design details and that’s what inspires me, seamlines, darts, pleats etc – design possibilities based on the bare bones of a garment. But if you like to colour in, paint and whatnot – knock yourself out I say!

Fashionary A5 - sketches

Fashionary A5 – sketches

Really if you don’t have one – invest. They are brilliant. I have a BIG handbag (it’s from Madrid and I love love love it) so I carry it around for doodling when I feel like it.

What is Fashionary?

From their website: “Fashionary project started in 2009 – targets to bring efficiency to professional fashion designers and fellow fashionistas. Fashionary grew from a person’s vision to a fashion sketchbook line. Fashionary is an on-going project and it will keep improving with trends and customer feedbacks.

Fashionary sent me…

Fashionary Tape

Fashionary Tape

The new Fashion Tape… it’s… “the World 1st tape marked with advanced body measurements.  30 Womens Measurements and 27 Mens Measurements are precisely marked on the white and black side of tape respectively with womens size: 38(EU), 10(UK), 6(US) and mens size: 48(EU), 38(UK, US).” I’ve never seen anything quite like this tape so for those pattern drafters and prospective pattern designers out there I think this could be right up your alley! Or you could just love collecting sewing notions (yup, guilty as charged) and want to add to your stash.

If you are not sure how you might use this… check our their website, they have some great resources including a little video…

and they also sent…

A set of mini Neon Fashionary booklets… I am going to give away all three – to three winners. I figure this way more people get a taste of the fun of Fashionary… and you’ve got more of a chance of winning!

Fashionary Neon Light Womens

Fashionary Neon Light Womens

These are little Fashionary notebooks - and apart from their disco covers which makes me feel like dancin’ – they are seriously cool. They are pint-sized, perfect for throwing into your handbag, each page is perforated so you can tear out your sketches and they also have several reference pages covering fabric types, measurements etc.

Fashionary Neon - reference pages

Fashionary Neon – reference pages

and these fabulous, fabulous postcards which shall be used to decorate the renovated Sew Busy Lizzy ‘Sewing Treehouse’ (it’s not really a treehouse but I look out into the trees…). I’m going to frame these and put them up as a series in my room – and yes I will share that with you once I’m done. It’s a huge job so it’s going to be awhile yet! It took a whole weekend to sort and fold my fabric stash!

Fashionary Postcard Book

Fashionary Postcard Book

Seriously how cute are they? And they even have shoes, accessories and men’s clothing!

Fashionary postcards - shoes

Fashionary postcards – shoes

Fashionary postcards - mens

Fashionary postcards – mens

I love inspiration – and these are perfect to surround me in the sewing room. It’s a bit like being surrounded by Pinterest(I spend too much time there online so I need a bit of reality!).

I’ve spent quite a bit of time reading the Fashionary site and it’s well worth a visit… and there are more products that tempt me… particularly the tiger print Fashionaries… (hello Anne), and custom made Fashionaries!

ummmm and did I mention shipping is free… worldwide… hmmmm…

What to do in the giveaway draw?

So if you would like to win either the Fashionary Tape, a Neon Lite - or both – please complete this online form via Survey Monkey (competition now over).

Your responses are completely confidential. I just realised that I could, and should, be using Survey Monkey to collect simple information for giveaways – so much faster, easier for you and me!

And if you just want to chat (or for some reason the form freaks you out) – comment in the WordPress fields below. Mwah.

Giveaway closes Thursday 31 August 2014. Winners will be selected via random draw.

Thank you Fashionary!

Top 5 Inspirations

Top 5 of 2013

Top 5 of 2013

My writing at the moment is a little brief. I managed to throw my spine out of alignment (merely by stretching after my morning coffee!) on New Year’s Eve.

Don’t fret I’m much better, still stiff and sore but on the road to recovery.

Top Inspirations…

I’ve changed a lot in the past year of sewing.

I’m sewing more to the beat of my own drum. I know what I like, what suits me and my lifestyle. More and more I just sew ideas that pop into my head. I am forever browsing the internet, watching people in the street, examining garments in-store, I love clothes in ‘action’.

I guess my top Inspirations would be.. (sorry just four today – I clearly can’t count this year)

Sewing blogs & twitter
Without a doubt seeing what everyone is creating and how they are doing it is a Number 1 inspiration. Keep sewing & blogging people!
I’ve recently discovered Beaute J-adore and Jolies Bobines. Fabulous sites with great makes, photography and styling – check them out.
I love twitter – love it. I get lots of ideas, inspirations and solutions from my twitter friends – thank you – love you all!

I love new pattern releases – whether it’s the Big 4 or indies. I find all new patterns thought-provoking and inspiring. These days I like to look beyond the styling and create my own version. Recent examples of this are my Late Lunch Tunic (which has been worn a lot!) and my Vogue 1351 for Minerva Fabrics. I’m currently working on my Lolita Patterns Gunmetal and it’s really sweet and very different in feel to the other Gunmetals floating around out there!

I’m very driven by my fabric choices. My husband said to me one day - “it’s a peculiar gift – you walk past a bolt of fabric, pat it and say… ‘wow that would make a perfect halterneck dress/shirt/trousers/jacket etc’… I just see a bolt of fabric – you see what it could become.”
This is probably why I struggle with sewalongs. I can’t make something unless I can find the right fabric for a pattern. I’m a little obsessive on that score.
So fabric stores and online shops I can spend hours in, dreaming about my next make…

‘Not’ shopping
I love to wander around shops and browse online. I very rarely buy these days – instead I’m forever snapping images on my iPhone and filing away ideas for another sewing day.
I’m very driven by my lifestyle. Fortunately I have a need for casual wear, corporate wear and cocktail dresses in my life so I have diverse sewing projects to tackle. I like to make things I will actually wear. It’s fun to sew things for the sheer challenge – it’s more fun to sew things that you wear frequently!

Still got my 2014 Goals to go – I’ve been thinking hard about this one!

Just one Reflection for 2013

Top 5 of 2013

Top 5 of 2013

I had five things written down. All very sensible & fluent. However this morning I read this post by Rochelle of Lucky Lucille.

It got me thinking.

Of all my reflections about life, sewing, blogging I simply have this to share…

Don’t undervalue what you are.
Don’t overvalue what you are not.

(Malcolm Forbes)

Celebrate who you are. The hits & misses, positives & negatives… we need both to find balance. Maybe it’s not that someone is better or worse… it’s simply that they are different.

Top 5 Hits of 2013

Top 5 of 2013

Top 5 of 2013

This is a tricky one… am I cheating if I have categories and post multiple makes?
I’ve hyperlinked all the images to the original posts – in case you want more pictures or details…
I’ve also created a Made-by-Me 2013 page where you can see all my makes…

I love all of these makes. The latest girl in the BHL Club has surfaced many many times this party season – with both heels and bare feet… Georgia is a go-anywhere girl… and seriously comfortable. I asked my husband if it was appropriate for an informal event… and he said “oh well I’ll just have to put up with having the hottest wife in the room again…” LOL I think that’s a good sign.

The new kid in town - Georgia from By Hand London

The new kid in town – Georgia from By Hand London

Elisalotte dress - back

Elisalotte dress – a combination of the Charlotte Skirt and the Elisazlex bodice

The Sari Edition - By Hand London Victoria Blazer

The Sari Edition – By Hand London Victoria Blazer

Charlotte The Second: By Hand London

Charlotte The Second: By Hand London

and my lovely Anna dresses… I love all these…

Anna Rose - a girly girly dress

Anna Rose By Hand London – a girly girly dress

Anna Blue by the seaside

Anna Blue by the seaside. By Hand London

Jungle Anna - there's that wild thigh slit... I finished it a little higher than Anna Roses...

Jungle Anna – there’s that wild thigh slit… I finished it a little higher than Anna Roses… cos Jungle Anna is a wild girl…

Love both of these makes and wear them a lot!

Tania Culottes and the odd giraffe

Tania Culottes and the odd giraffe

Love this skirt! Megan Neilsen's Cascade Skirt

Love this skirt! Megan Neilsen’s Cascade Skirt. Perfect perfect perfect fabric for this make.

It’s a recent love affair but I love the modern simplicity of Jen’s designs.

Grainline Maritime Urban butterfly

now I’m wondering if there is some halo graffiti around town somewhere….

Grainline Maritime Shorts in floral denim

Grainline Maritime Shorts in floral denim

Grainline Studio - Archer It was extremely windy - so this looks hard more fitted than it is!

Grainline Studio – Archer
It was extremely windy – so this looks more fitted than it is!

I re-taught myself to knit. All I can say is YouTube is a wonder! Of all my makes I adore Idlewood the most. Long, warm, casual AND it has a monster cowl.

Idlewood by Cecily Glowik MacDonald.

Idlewood – taken after 36 hours of travel. I knitted the last four rows just after I landed!

Idlewood by Cecily Glowik MacDonald COWL

Now THAT’S what I call a cowl!

Sewaholic Cambie and Whole Wheat cardigan

Sewaholic Cambie and Whole Wheat cardigan

Sewaholic Cambie & Andi Satterlund's Marion

Sewaholic Cambie & Andi Satterlund’s Marion

Chuck by Andi Satterlund - front view

Chuck by Andi Satterlund – front view

I adore this pattern mash-up. I wear the blue dress a lot on the weekends.
And Clairy – she’s my kinda gal… I’ve worn her to Frocktails and to a work function.
In both versions I feel fabulous and I get loads of compliments.
My original Maria Denmark day-to-night top is also heavily worn.
Buy this pattern!

Maria Denmark day-to-night dress - take 2

Maria Denmark day-to-night dress – take 2

Clairy Dress - pouting lips, shaking hips...

Clairy Dress – pouting lips, shaking hips…


I’ve made lots of things I really like this year! I know – fatheaded of me but it’s true… so the honourable mentions go to…

Hot Mess Birthday Dress

On the beach before Birthday dinner

Hot Mess Birthday Dress – I’ve worn this quite a lot. it’s easy to wear and the b/w scheme make it as classic – despite the craziness!

Liesl + Co Late Lunch Tunic aka my beach shirt…

Liesl + Co Late Lunch Tunic SewBusyLizzy

The Beach edition of the Late Lunch Tunic (and my Michael Jackson moment)

McCalls 6611 Fashion Star Jacket

McCalls 6611 - Fashion Star

McCalls 6611 – Fashion Star

Sewaholic Lonsdale

Sewaholic Lonsdale - the front view

Sewaholic Lonsdale – the front view

There are a few more – but that’s enough :-)

Top 5 Misses of 2013 (and some koala romance)

Top 5 of 2013

Top 5 of 2013


I’ve decided to start with my Top 5 Misses. Rationale? Well after this post… the only way is up and I like to think positive!

I really enjoy these blogger posts – it’s such a great snapshot across the sewing blogsphere of what everyone has been doing. It as started last year by Gillian from Crafting a Rainbow and so it continues in 2013!

I’ve struggled to find much in my last 12 months of making that I would regard as a ‘miss’ (despite the nasty drunk monkey’s best efforts).

I’m taking a slightly different approach… bear with me & ignore the drunk monkey shrieking … I fear the festive season and its indulgences is making him worse than usual.

I’m also not going to do five… I think three is enough…

I’m notoriously tough on myself – great at encouraging and inspiring confidence in others but specialise in giving myself a hard time. I’m so glad I started my blog, all the blog comments, twitter people and stitchers I have met IRL, have all helped me develop a more balanced view of myself. It sounds like such a simple thing but it never is.

I do like to be busy but this year has been OTT. Between travelling, work, family, blogging, helping out at the school and other things along the way, I have been really bad at taking some time out for myself – and by that I mean doing NOTHING. I desperately need a rest for a few weeks. I am T.I.R.E.D.

This goes hand-in-hand with the above. I am great with deadlines, in fact I love them. Juggling multiple demands, schedules and more is OK. However this year I have had just too many and ended up pushed and pulled between them all. There are so many people I need to get back to, things to sew and stuff to write I feel dizzy – and that’s just the blog!

A perfect example of this is agreeing the make the recently released Lolita Patterns Gunmetal. First the print shop stuffed up the print, I failed to notice, I made a top – misshapen due to bad print job. I printed it again… and this time was too tired to remember that I had to sew 3/8in seam allowances instead of the usual 5/8in seam allowances (entirely my fault) so ended up with another too-tight top (there are about eight seams in the bodice so that’s a total of 2 inches smaller than it should have been…). I’m totally gutted as it was looking so lovely and completely different to the other Gunmetals. What an idiot Lizzy…. fortunately it’s going to fit Miss 10.

It was just an unfortunate collision of deadlines, I was in the midst of my busiest time at work, sewing Gunmetal, sewing the Thread Theory Goldstream Peacoat test pattern (that’s why I was so quiet for a while – it was a big job), sewing my Minerva Crafts Christmas Skirt, the By Hand London Georgia Dress and more. The Peacoat pattern was a little late coming to me, so everything collided – just swamped me and things fell apart a little. Sorry everyone! I’m getting back on my feet – just a little more sleep required.

I’m stopping at Three Misses for 2013. I could go on and on… because I’m great at giving myself a hard time, doing too much… and what I really need to do is eat dinner and have a good sleep…

IN THE MEANTIME… some koala lovin’ (or not)
ELH spotted two koalas in the tree across from our house. Koalas are quite common around our home, it’s less common to spot two up a tree together unless it’s Mum & a Bubba. Unless it’s mating season… which it is…
Excuse the poor quality photos – they were very high up in the branches and the sun was going down…

Koala slumber party...

Koala slumber party… that’s Bruce (the big male down low, showing us his best side) and Shazza (the alluring demure female curled up in the higher branches)

Hi, my name's Bruce... like to share a juicy gum tip or two?

As the sun goes down…
BRUCE: Hi, the name’s Bruce… like to share a juicy gum tip or two?

Alright, not into gum tips? Howsabout a kiss then love?

BRUCE: Alright, not into gum tips? Howsabout a kiss love?

Not on your sweet Nellie - go try your sweet talk on some other sheila...

SHAZZA: Not on your sweet Nellie – go try your luck with some other sheila…
I said NO *thump* – rack off! Go shave your back or something… you can’t even call yourself a bear. Poser! *thump*

Yeah, she doesn't know what she's missing out on...

BRUCE: Yeah, she doesn’t know what she’s missing out on… *hastily retreats down the tree*
Needless to say Bruce didn’t lucky this evening… think he’s going to try his luck elsewhere tonight.