Hello-and-Goodbye Summer Dress, New Look 6048

While the Northern hemisphere waves goodbye to another summer… in the Southern hemisphere we are impatiently waiting for ours to arrive. I agree, I am rather spoilt… we took these photos mid-August on a quiet local beach while walking the dog and I wasn’t cold, it was a beautiful day.

Spring is nearly here & a sundress is an eminently sensible way to celebrate. Thank you Mood Fabrics for supplying this for my Mood Sewing Network post – much appreciated!

New Look 6048 - my Hello & Goodbye Summer Dress.

New Look 6048 – my Hello & Goodbye Summer Dress. Grinning like a goose as the waves catch me unawares!

Once I spotted this beautiful black & white lightweight stretch cotton on the Mood Fabrics website I was head over heels in love. I love a classic black/white print, however it’s the pop of aqua that makes this fabric gorgeous. Mood was most helpful in pairing it with a beautiful contrast cotton sateen for me, this one is Hawaiian Ocean Blue Stretch Cotton Sateen. Thse fabrics have a lovely weight to them, not too heavy and not too light (I know, sounds suspiciously like a breakfast cereal commercial!).

I love this combination, it is light, crisp and summery. I also have a particular fondness for cotton sateens. They are marvellously easy to sew with and endlessly versatile… not to mention coming in a wide variety of gorgeous colours and prints.

White-Black Lightweight Stretch Cotton Print from Mood Fabrics

White-Black Lightweight Stretch Cotton Print from Mood Fabrics

This fabric is lovely quality and a generous 58 inches wide, giving you lots of room to play – perfect for those wider or circle skirts. It has a touch of lycra which adds a bit of crosswise stretch to the fabric – hello comfortable sundress!

I had planned to make a Vogue Vintage frock… however I kept coming back to New Look 6644 and in the end I gave into my instincts. The pattern itself is easy to sew, which isn’t why I chose it, I simply love a sweetheart neckline and the bodice has princess seams. It’s got three lovely deep pleats across the front and back, giving the skirt some fullness, without too much heaviness.

I decided to fully line this dress with some cotton lawn from my stash.  I always have several metres stashed as it seems to be useful for all manner of projects.

Lining a dress might seem onerous or double the sewing time, I find lined dresses last longer, wear better and crease less. I also often make the lining to test the fit. It’s an excellent timesaver because if it does indeed fit… you are half way there!

New Look 6048 - fully lined

New Look 6048 – fully lined. I like my lining to be several centimetres shorter than my shell, I’m not one for peekaboo hemlines.

If you are considering lining this particular dress, when you line the bodice you just need to layer the shell and lining wrong sides together. The top contrast band is then attached to both fabrics along the neckline on the wrong side then turned over to the front of the dress and slip-stitched down. It’s a very simple and neat finish.

I also decided to give the dress a little more structure by adding some lightweight boning to the lining seams. I used rigilene (which looks like this), which is made from woven nylon rods and can be sewn directly onto the seams. For a sundress I don’t think you want very rigid boning, just something with enough structure to support the curve of the dress seams so it sits nicely over your body. I love how this dress sits with a some added soft structure and shape.

New Look 6048 sewn in White-Black Lightweight Stretch Cotton Print for Mood Fabrics

Side view – New Look 6048. Yes… for the pocket junkies, this dress is just the ticket.

I opted to use a white invisible zipper for this dress. I did worry for a little while about the white zipper tab showing at the top of the dress… however I actually really like the white contrast against the aqua and decided to leave it white rather than painting it with nail polish to conceal it.

New Look 6048 - back view

New Look 6048 – back view

Cotton sateen and stretch cotton are just lovely to sew with. They have a little more weight than a basic poplin and are far more forgiving to sew. Not to mention the slightly lovely sheen that the fabrics possess, giving a humble sundress a little more wow.

I would advise not ignoring those pattern instructions advising you to staystitch your edges, the lycra stretch does need to be contained as you don’t want a gaping neckline! I think this pattern is particularly suited to cotton sateen as the neckline is staystitched, stitched and then understitched… AND the contrast band is interfaced, making it far less likely to stretch out.

I think this dress would look lovely with a patent black belt and simple heels.

Now I’m off to sit out the final days of my winter… and embrace some welcome warmth and sunshine. I am one of those people guilty of clinging to their summer dresses as autumn approaches and wearing them in the fading days of winter, teamed with cardigans and jackets in a desperate bid to pretend the colder days will soon be gone…. I’m not the only one that does that… am I?

… I think I have just enough of this amazing fabric to whip up a print summer blazer with aqua highlights… *trots off to sewing room again*

Fabrics from Mood Fabrics NY: White-Black Lightweight Stretch Cotton Print (1 7/8 yard) & Hawaiian Ocean Blue Stretch Cotton Sateen (1/4 yard)
Pattern: New Look 6048 (I made size 6 – I should have made a 4 but perhaps the slightly looser fit will be more comfortable in summer!)

this one is simply because I know many of you love a good whippet photo bomb… (note: most of my photos are taken with the whippet on quiet local beaches where dogs are permitted unleashed… I think he rather loves blog photo times!)

Whippet photo bomb

Banjo: serial whippet photo bomber!

Manhattan in Denim – Capital Chic Patterns

BOOM. New skirt. It’s the Manhattan by Capital Chic Patterns.

Manhattan - side feature panel

ah yes… I was ridiculously proud of the top-stitched panel, you may have seen it pop up on instagram. Note the odd top accessory: I wanted to tie my singlet in a knot but it wasn’t quite long enough – so I jammed a dress ring onto it. Worked a treat.

I know pattern testing process is an issue with many so first up… yes, it’s a new pattern and I received the pattern as part of the pattern testing process (hard to test without one). All opinions here are always entirely my own.

I didn’t blog it right away when the range came out as life was hectic. I blog my makes when I’m ready. Sometimes I’m absolutely busting for something to be released because I’m stupidly excited about it and I’ve been sitting on it for weeks (hello the upcoming By Hand London Holly pattern – I’ve made one and I’m going to make another – perhaps two more because they are ‘sitting in my head’ and need to be created). I do put a lot of (obsessive) thought into my makes. It involves lots of fabric patting, draping, pattern comparisons, photos of options and endless thinking. Today I was having coffee with my lovely sewing friend Pam and we were throwing around options for an upcoming make. I think you might be surprised by my creative process to get from concept to end result! I often drive myself nuts – but it’s my ‘mental yoga’ – and always I’m happier with the end result.

I’ve ‘virtually’ hung out with Sally of the amazing Charity Shop Chic blog long before she kicked off her pattern line – we have a mutual love of single malt whisky and have an obsession for charity shops (we have exchanged charity shop packages – I’ve just got to make up mine!). So when she asked me to check out her new pattern line as she thought it would be my style, I said yes.

This is the Manhattan Skirt from Capital Chic… it’s got two variations. One with this uneven & high-low hem – ie this one. The other more ‘boardroom’ look, longer with a straight hem.

It’s taken me ages to blog as my first version was a complete experiment in dodgy stash fabric – primarily just for pattern testing purposes (do the notches match, what’s the fit like, do the instructions work). Capital Chic Patterns testing popped up during the month of May which was a log jam of work, family and community stuff. Then of course I had an idea for my ‘proper’ Version 2… and there was such a big bang in the blogsphere with her new range I figured the world could wait for mine.

Now let’s talk about Capital Chic Patterns

Manhattan Skirt by Capital Chic Patterns

I’m quite sure the men fishing on the wharf had a laugh as we photographed three outfits… there was a lot of wardrobe, accessories and shoe changing going on in my nearby car!


I like the pattern, I was immediately drawn to it. I think it’s got loads of potential. It’s visually interesting (both versions, the side panel whether straight or jagged is a nice touch), completely lined – and easy to make up. You could use the same or contrast fabric for the side panel… or embellish a fabric, set a pattern on point, use a different textured fabric – or use the same textured fabric but set at an angle so the light hits it at a different angle which can be a subtle but interesting design feature. Ahhhhh, so many ideas!

For this version of the skirt I opted to use a chalk pencil and ruler to draw a grid onto the fabric. I top stitched the panel and then sewed it into the skirt.

The skirt has no darts…. no darts at all. It sits on your natural waist and has no waistband. It appeals to me as it is different to other skirt pattern options on the market. I made a size 12.

Capital Chic is much more ‘high street’ – which does appeal to me – as I’m not really a retro chick… I don’t have the build, hair or vibe to carry it off. Probably explains why By Hand London patterns appeal to me as well. The patterns are also generally aimed at intermediate and advanced sewing market.

The skirt is completely lined (I know – pretty flash for a denim skirt – although would make it very wearable with leggings in winter). I think I over-compensated for the ‘turn of fabric’ and this created a tension on the lower hem point – making the panel want to curl under when I wore it – SewIdiotLizzy. I has a bout of SewSwearyLizzyitis, calmed down and thought hard about it. The solution was to sew down the feature panel seams (through both the shell and lining, in the seam itself), thus anchoring the lining and shell together – killing the tension between the waistline and hemline. If you find this happens – this fix worked for me.

Manhatten 8

I did find the inner ‘corner/point’ where the two jagged panels meet, really fiddly to get neat, I’ve found that with all points in all types of sewing I’ve done – the fabric choice didn’t help either. Let’s just say my iron got a workout and all’s well that ends well.

I used an invisible zip instead of the exposed zipper which is suggested for this skirt version. I did take a wedge out of the centre back, which is a common adjustment for me, as well as a slightly wider seam allowance down the centre back seam.

I’d like to try this in a different fabric… because I’m just curious about the pattern and how else I could play with it. This version uses between 70cm or 1m of fabric (depending on fabric width) and the other version uses between 70cm or 1.4m – this is a great stash buster or for those fabulous pieces you find in high-end fabric store remanent bins.


I don’t know what I was thinking giving this fabric a second chance… I’m often guilty of that with people. I complained about it with the Jamie Jeans - but I still opted to use the final piece to make up this skirt… mainly because inspiration hit, I had the topstitching thread so away I went.

Inspiration can be beguiling and terrible mistress. Too often I let her lead me into all sorts of wicked but very interesting places!

This fabric simply doesn’t soften with washing. Maybe I should let the dog sleep on it for a month or so (I’m joking). Personally I would not use this denim as a garment fabric again. I simply don’t like how it moves with the body – or rather it doesn’t. I dislike how the light hits it as it creases.

see - this skirt fits really well but the stupid fabric just does horrid stuff when you move. It's not 'very agreeable' regardless of how cool it looks.

see – this skirt fits really well but the stupid fabric just does horrid stuff when you move and how it sits over my ‘junk trunk’ and hips. The fabric is not ‘very agreeable’ regardless of how cool it looks.

You live and learn – sometimes you hit the sweet spot and that when the magic happens.


The gorgeous Sally from Capital Chic Patterns!

The gorgeous Sally from Capital Chic Patterns!

I’ve always been fascinated by Sally’s blog Charity Shop Chic. She manages to transform the most hideous charity shop finds into gorgeous and wearable clothing.  She re-engineers and re-imagines clothes. I love that talent. It’s quite compelling.

Now she’s got her very own pattern line… so who is Sally?

Who taught you to sew and how old were you?
My mum taught me how to use a sewing machine as a little girl, but it wasn’t until I went to university and wanted to make my own dresses (that were long enough for my rather tall frame) that I really took it up again as a serious hobby. After university I sewed on-and-off, but became increasingly interested in fashion and building my own unique wardrobe. That’s when I hit upon the idea of combining my love of unusual fabrics, charity shopping and sewing in the form of a blog.

Many people learn to sew, for a few of us it becomes far more than a life skill, it becomes an obsession – what got you hooked?
I have to say it was when I started the blog that I really became obsessed. The online sewing and refashioning communities are so supportive and once you start to get a following, it’s really addictive to keep making new things to show off!

How often do you sew?
As often as I can! It can be as much as three evenings a week and at weekends too. I also reserve a lot of time for charity shopping, of course! Moving forward, I’m anticipating having to spend a lot more time on drafting and product testing for the new business, but am hoping to set aside time for plenty of refashioning fun too.

Given your fame as a charity shop chick, I’ve always wondered what sort of sewing machine do you use?
I have one of the cheapest machines Argos sells – Brother XL-2620. It’s just a cheap plastic machine but I am very attached to it, it’s been an absolute workhorse over the years. I also have a Brother 3034D overlocker which I am very pleased with.

Most people have a favourite type of garment that they find irresistible to sew, whether it’s dresses, blouses, pants, skirts, jackets – what’s your sewing weakness?
Like most people, I think it’s dresses. I love to look put-together and a good dress is the basis for a whole outfit – no wondering about matching separates. My wardrobe contains a lot of RTW jackets and some trousers I have worn to death too, but I haven’t as much enthusiasm for taking on this type of sewing project, for some reason…

Your blog has always fascinated me – your ability to turn shocking charity shop garments into masterpieces is really second to none – what drives this passion? Is it the sheer challenge, life experiences, economics, ethics?
You might be surprised to learn that it’s mostly for fun! Just something I love doing, for the pleasure of being creative. There’s an aspect of “just for the sheer challenge of it”, as well… I love to challenge myself and improve my sewing and drafting in the process. Things like recycling, being thrifty and supporting charities also matter to me, but these factors are a little more in the background. My primary motive is to make great-fitting, interesting clothes that no-one else has, so I can feel great and have fun wearing them.

Pattern drafting makes my brain ache, I’ve always got a billion ideas buzzing about in my head and I’m been rather too terrified to teach myself and make them a reality. I can’t even imagine drafting multiple sizes LOL. Have you been formally trained in pattern drafting and design?
I’ve taught myself how to draft and grade and spent a lot of time practicing over the last few years. Let’s just say I have a LOT of books on the subject! My background is actually engineering, so the maths side of pattern making really appealed to me and I have loved learning all about it. I’d encourage anyone with an interest in sewing to study pattern design – once you understand the basics, it opens up so many possibilities…

With so many bloggers out there releasing patterns, how do you see Capital Chic Patterns fitting into the marketplace – what’s your point of difference?
Well, it seems at the moment like there are a lot more indie pattern companies making vintage style and vintage-inspired patterns than those designing contemporary looks that play to today’s fashion trends. I’m aiming to balance that out a little. My style is also on the ‘smart’ side, which is a little unusual – the patterns are intended for office and cocktail wear, but the collection is versatile enough to take you from a coffee date to a summer wedding or the office Christmas party. Also, the patterns are aimed at intermediate to advanced sewers, contrasting with the large variety of beginner-friendly patterns out there. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that there is a lot of choice out there for beginners. But what happens when you want to progress and start working on your skills as a sewist? If you continue making beginner-rated patterns, you’ll never improve. Personally I always aspire to sew better and take on more and more challenging projects, and I hope others feel the same way I do!


Yes it’s SewBusy Giveaway Central at the moment…

Pop over to the Capital Chic website, check out the new pattern range… and when you decide what you like best… come back here… fill in this online form (Sorry entries have now closed)… I’ve decided to let you nominate your favourites and if you win… you can decide which one you would like to win… that always takes me AGES! So you have a grace period :-)

Giveaway closes on Friday 15 August 2014 and winner will be chosen by random number generator and notified via email.

Not sewing but…. BOOTS…

I have a massive weakness for boots. I just love, love, love them. It’s one of the best things about winter (and the awesome winter coats, scarves and other fun accessories). 

Duo Avani Boots

Duo Avani Boots – this is love… snug fit, stacked block heels, soft leather… it’s ridiculous how much I like these.

… I’m just showing off my new boots… my perfect, perfect boots… shipped from Duo in the UK, made in Portugal, these exquisite creatures (called Avani) come not just in shoe size but calf width too. Worth every penny, shipping is free to Australia… and if you are a non-VAT country it also comes off during the check-out process.

Yes, a complete indulgence (hey my oven died and for some reason the best cure I could think of was these boots – note: the oven is still broken). They are a perfect fit and we all know how impossible it can be to get long boots to fit our various shaped pins. These are my answer (and yes I paid for these – I’m just sharing because I love them).

Pattern: Manhattan Skirt, Capital Chic Patterns
Fabric: Sparkly denim from Spotlight (yukko)
Boots: Avani, Duo Boots
Top & accessories: courtesy of the Sew Busy Lizzy wardrobe department.

Don’t forget the giveaway!

Also see: Sew Amy Sew – she’s made this skirt and the White Russian top. She’s also hosting a Repurpose, Reuse, Refashion challenge this month.


Fashionary Giveaway… Jeans in June/July…


There was 160 entrants for the Fashionary giveaway! That’s HUGE!

The winners were selected via random number generator and they have been notified via email – congratulations to the winners!

Fashionary Tape

Fashionary Tape


So did you make some jeans in June & July?

Please comment below and let me know… I don’t want to miss you in the post round-up I will write soon.

Jeans in June & July 2014

Jeans in June & July 2014

Thank you!

Not such an ugly duckling… Vogue 8780

I love those ‘makes’ that seem like a crazy idea but just sing to you when you put them on…

Vogue 8780 - an easy layering piece

Vogue 8780 – an easy layering piece

This is Vogue 8780 – which I’m guessing many have skipped over in the catalogue because it doesn’t exactly scream ‘sew me’… well to me it’s a bit of an ugly duckling (jacket not model)… why did I pick it? I wanted a long draped cardigan/jacket layering piece and this had potential…

Vogue 8780

Vogue 8780 – the catalogue edition. I totally get some will love this but the high-low emphasis and colour is just not ‘me’. And drawstring pants? I’m out.

Yes it doesn’t have the shape of my McCalls 6844. It doesn’t have the cute peplum. I’ve deliberately sewn it in something with much more drape than pictured or suggested. It’s not a vivid colour…

Vogue 8780 - back view. A more softer flared shape than the deliberate peplum of McCalls 6844

Vogue 8780 – back view. A more softer flared shape than the deliberate peplum of McCalls 6844

I don’t care, I love it. I love its lack of deliberate shape and gentle soft flare. I love its neutral tones…

Vogue 8780. Soft gentle colours...

Vogue 8780. Soft gentle colours…

It’s quiet and easy. I could own a million of these… and it’s very easy to make…

Perhaps the only issue I have is a raw seam is visible where the collar rolls over (which you can just see in the back view image above). If I made this in another lightweight knit (I desperately want another in merino but will have to wait for my next city trip which should be soon), I would probably French seam the collar – it’s a short seam and would improve the finish. A French seam would clearly would not work with a heavier fabric which is why it’s not suggested. With my long hair, it is not a big deal but I do notice it (#OCD).

I made this ‘small’ as I didn’t want such a lightweight knit clinging to my arms. The sleeves are slightly too big… but I don’t really mind. I tend to shove my sleeves up, I’ve just pulled them down for the pictures. The fabric is so light it would look odd too fitted I think. I made the shorter version. I didn’t want to morph into Casper The Friendly Ghost… Although he’s kinda cute…

The only things I did differently was 1) use an overlocker for everything and 2) the hem on the neckline and sleeves. I simply didn’t hem them. I took my queue from one of my favourite RTW brands Metalicus - which often finishes its lighter pieces with a very simple overlock rolled hem. I also finished the hemline with a rolled stitch. I just dislike raw edges on my clothes. I know – I can be a bit precious.

no 'hems'. I dislike 'raw edges' so I finished the edges with a rolled hem on the overlocker

no ‘hems’. I dislike ‘raw edges’ so I finished the edges with a rolled hem on the overlocker

This merino was so light that I felt a hem would look clunky and stop the fabric from floating and settling around me. It’s rather wispy and cloudlike. I love that.

Vogue 8780

Sorry can’t see much of the ‘make’ but I love the stillness and natural tones in this shot.

I’ve paired it with a latte-coloured lace singlet. I don’t often wear such muted colourways but I think I’m falling in love. I’d love to wear this barefoot with a silk bias-cut slip dress in a soft floral print… that would be so pretty…

This is one of my favourite places. It’s right in town, a tiny secluded beach nook which is always sheltered and calm. I feel peaceful here.

One of my favourite places...

One of my favourite places…

I have a type of anaemia, it slays me some days – it’s a mystery what causes it and I no longer really care. The treatment manages it well enough. I suggested marking my medical file with #notbuilttolast or if that was too harsh #special would be fine. I suspect it makes me more susceptible to the cold which I am really struggling with this year. And also more vulnerable than I like to be – I don’t deal with that well… at all…

Fatigue can be insidious, it just quietly slides up, wraps its arms around you, steals your breath away and whispers in your ear. I guess that sounds like a rather bizarre description of how I view my fatigue but it feels like a creeping shadow that I never quite escape. Generally it’s fine but you have moments when it rules your life – I had several moments in Brisbane were I wondered if I’d have to catch a taxi because walking back to my accommodation was so daunting – but I always manage because like a fitness trainer once said ‘The day you turned up to bootcamp I thought, “man she’s a delicate one”. But you get this ‘look’ on your face and despite everything we throw at you, you just keep going… a tiny mouse that roars like a lion…‘. Physical limitations are annoying, mental fortitude is everything.

I’ll be OK. I’m always OK eventually.

Thank you all so much – I’ve had so many emails, messages, tweets and comments. That’s really the best medicine. Knowing there are people that want to put you back together. xo

Pattern: Vogue 8780
Fabric: cream NZ merino jersey from The Fabric Store, Sydney (it was a 2m remanent for just $19 – major score)

… and did you see that McCalls Pattern Company have a new blog?


The Girls’ Road Trip & Little Truck Stop Tops…

I love my girls. Love them. They are beautiful and funny – but more importantly they are sweet-hearted human beings. I always imagined being a mother to boys – but life had other plans and I’m more than OK with that.

This post seemed timely as I’m actually solo with the girls at the moment as the husband is away in Malaysia fishing (no he didn’t fly with Malaysia Airlines) until mid next week.

My girls... Giselle and Zoe - the very best of friends

My girls… Giselle and Zoe – the very best of friends. Just a random shot one night when they were being funny and sweet to each other. I love the spontaneity and love in this shot.

I made them some tops for the girls earlier this year – then I lost my blog drive (now recovered – and I save everything to Google Drive now!). It’s on the long list of things I need to blog about… and I’m finally getting there… unfortunately it’s been a long hard road this year, in every sense – but I will get there.

It’s The Little Truck Stop Top by The Makers’ Journal from Stitch56 (and sent to me by Stitch 56). It’s such a simple little pattern – perfect for using up your scraps and sending the kids to the remanent bin to find fabric for their next one! More about the make later in the post.

It’s so cold this winter and I need to channel some virtual sunshine into my life – so here they are. And I’ll probably be making more this spring and summer for them.


The crazy kid on the left is Giselle – she is going to need a riot squad as a chaperone when she grows up. She is a beautiful, generous soul with a wicked sense of humour… She ‘brings me back’ with a hug and a kiss when ‘Mummy looks far away’. I’ve always described her as the child that God trapped a ray of sunshine inside and it’s so true. She was an adorable little tot, always giggling and smiling… and making me giggle and smile… she still does…

giselle at 3

She’s always been so joyous…

Giselle 2

this one kills me every time. So beautiful.

… and the one on the right is my ‘big girl’ Zoe Rose. She’s so sombre and serious at times. She saves her money – and buys shares as investment… she’s a beautiful dancer… she studies hard… she’s one of the most driven individuals I’ve ever met. What makes me most proud? She stands up for the kids that can’t stand up for themselves, even at her own personal expense. She’s got opinions about bullies, boat people, gay marriage and discrimination. She’s quietly extraordinary. The world needs more people with big hearts and open minds like my beautiful, brave Zoe.

zoe ballet

She’s amazingly poised & elegant for her age

Zoe ballet 2

I’m terrified of her growing up, she’s too gentle & soft to get her heart broken.


The LITTLE TRUCK STOP TOP by The Makers’ Journal

There is always water somewhere nearby!

There is always water somewhere nearby! People get married every weekend at this beautiful place and now padlocks are appearing on the wires with the couples’ names engraved on them.

Such a simple and quick little make this Little Truck Stop Top – these will pop up a lot in their summer wardrobes. They are loose through the body which makes them cool and easy to wear – and hence very popular with the girls. Zoe also loves to throw her top over her leotard between dance classes.

I opted not to attach the frill to the hem – my girls are not the frilly types. While Zoe may dance obsessively, she’s got a rock ‘n’ roll, boho personal style thing going on (she loves leopard print and wears a fedora in summer) and Giselle is a low-fuss gal. That said, I think the frill is gorgeous – but perhaps on girlier girls than mine :-)

Once you attach one edge of the binding strips to the arm and neck you then leave the other edge raw. It creates a really cool little finish as the binding curls over a little. Making the tops look a little bit cool’. The hemline is just finished with the rolled stitch on my overlocker. They take no time to make and kids love them.

With Zoe’s top I rolled the binding over on the sleeve edges as an experiment to see what a clean edge would look like. I prefer the raw edge finish TBH.

Zoe is tall and very lean, so she wears her top with a singlet underneath (she’s also a layering junkie like her mother – must be in the DNA).

The pattern is beautifully presented. It is vacuum packed and printed on environmentally friendly recycled paper. It’s also got detailed instructions and comes complete with some fabric swatches so you know that types/weights of fabric will be suitable. You can see the packaging here on the Stitch 56 site.


We recently had a road trip together, just the three of us. We had such a lovely time… we did the much-wanted trip to Dreamworld… which despite all the anticipation wasn’t quite what they hoped… although we had lots of laughs which I needed…

Giselle Dreamworld

Yes, Giselle is always slightly crazy…

girls dreamworld

I couldn’t figure out if Giselle was trying to save Zoe… perhaps not…

and the things they loved the most on the road trip?

Staying on the top floor…

I confess I wasn't a huge fan of the 'water view', the river is brown #spoiltcoastal girl

I confess I wasn’t a huge fan of the ‘water view’, the river is brown! #spoiltcoastal girl

Walking along the river at night…

They loved our evening walks - there was lots of games and giggles.

They loved our evening walks before dinner – there was lots of games and giggles.

Visiting my grandfather’s house Glengallen (my grandfather was born in this house) near Warwick on the Darling Downs in Queensland…

I was always captivated by this house growing up - it was amazing to walk through the doors and see it partially restored.

I was always captivated by this house growing up – it was amazing to finally walk through the doors and see it partially restored. As a child I had only ever seen it derelict with the verandahs collapsing and windows smashed. I had always wondered about the house & the lives lived here – it’s just magnificent, I’m so glad we visited.

Horseriding for the first time…

I was shivering behind the canera - so cold! Thank goodness my cousin Megan is made of tougher stuff than me. #spoiltcoastalgirl

I was shivering behind the camera – so cold! Thank goodness my cousin Megan is made of tougher stuff than me. #spoiltcoastalgirl

Staying in a little tiny cottage – even though it was freezing cold…

Yes, let's all play spot the 'townie girl' car.

Yes, let’s all play ‘spot the ‘townie girl’ car’. I stayed in this cottage often as a child. It was referred to as Camp David. LOL. It’s been spruced up and there are even stairs into the cottage – I used to clamber up via a big rock – which was quite a feat… I was absolutely tiny as a child.

Feeding beautiful birds on a cold winter’s morning…

Rosellas at Queen Mary Falls

Rosellas at Queen Mary Falls

They are already talking about going back…

like the Little Truck Stop Top… the simple things in life are the best…

Thanks for reading :-)

Pattern: Truck Top Tee, The Makers’ Journal from Stitch 56
Fabric: remnants from Spotlight & Lincraft!

I love this dorky picture - it's just happy.

I love this dorky picture – it’s just happy.

and beautiful morning view at the holiday cottage…

Such a beautiful cold clear morning... although they need some rain...

Such a beautiful cold clear morning… although they need some rain…


Saved by accessories… McCalls 6844

I said that I was going to make another pair of jeans. And I haven’t. I will, just not within a fortnight. I’ve decided to be kind to myself. I didn’t want to rush and stress myself out any more than I have been lately. Sorry about that. I will blog at the end of July and see who else managed to battle through the Jeans Challenge!

I made some knit cardigan/jackets to wear with my jeans – compromise?

Today I’ll share with you the one I thought I would really, really like… and just don’t. Boo. Not the win I was hoping for – or needed.

Ever since McCalls 6844 came out I’d been dying to make it. I used a precious piece of divine blue NZ merino jersey from my stash (from The Fabric Store, Sydney). Perhaps if I’d made this in a heavier fabric I might feel differently, however I’m just not feeling the love for this pattern which has received such rave reviews on Sewing Pattern Review… I don’t think it’s a bad pattern, in fact it’s easy to make… it’s just not for me – or more likely I’ve made it in the wrong fabric. My bad.

Perhaps if I stumble across some heavier knit fabric I might give it another go…

McCalls 6844 - just not feeling the love.

McCalls 6844 – just not feeling the love. I was so disappointed as I adore this fabric. It’s lovely!

I wish I had not interfaced the collar piece as instructed. I think it would work much better without interfacing in this lighter fabric – making it more of a drape cardigan and much softer looking.

I found the collar once interfaced didn’t really line up with the hem of the jacket. Rather than hacking a ton off the hem (I didn’t want it any shorter). I simply left the collar slightly shorter than the jacket hem – I’m always going to wear this with a scarf which does help hide that small sewing sin… and really unless you have seen the pattern you wouldn’t know.

I do like the swingy peplum back, it’s super cute.

I made the smallest size – it’s not super small – I think the sizing runs large… or I run small… or the truth is somewhere in the middle…

McCalls 6844 - back view

McCalls 6844 – back view. My favourite feature, I love how the back hangs.

These light jackets and cardigans are a great wardrobe addition. I often have one in my handbag – they are not heavy enough to ward off a cold winter’s day but they are perfect to pop on to keep the chill off inside, under a heavier jacket or throw on during a spring or autumn morning/afternoon.

I used a light hem fusing tape to turn up the hem and sleeves. Then I finished them with a twin needle on my Bernina. This gave a great result – no tunnelling at all!

I’m rather OCD about some of my finishes and since I could not get a matching overlocker thread, I made this entire piece on my Bernina sewing machine, using lightening bolt & overlocking stitches, my walking & overlocking feet. You don’t have to have an overlocker to sew knits. It just makes it faster and easier – that is all.


I collect accessories like some people collect stamps or coins. You can never have too many scarves, necklaces, earrings, bangles, stockings in your arsenal – simple little touches which can transform an outfit. While I don’t love this jacket/cardigan I do like it with a scarf.

I think it’s great to sew yourself sensational clothes. I think it’s even better to learn to wear them well. I rarely sew or purchase anything without thinking about the complete overall look. I see a fabric or a garment & picture the shoes, the belt, the bag and so on. It’s not just a piece of clothing, it’s a package deal.

I know plenty of people who have amazing clothes. Expensive, well cut, designer clothes. That doesn’t always make them stylish or interesting. Individuality and ‘wearing the clothes’ rather than letting them wear you is the key I think.

I get stopped frequently and complimented or questioned on the clothes I’m wearing – often by strangers. I’ve got a very diverse mix of designer, homemade, vintage and charity shop pieces – I tend to wear them mashed up. To be honest, those compliments always surprise me. I’ve never seen myself as particularly interesting – especially to random strangers. I don’t think I’m any better dressed than anyone else, in fact I’ve never ever perceived myself as glamorous, stylish or beautiful. I find it weird & unsettling some days – and sometimes highly amusing.

I love to select one statement item and then build the rest of the outfit around it. You can get ‘too busy’ in a visual sense. It’s important to figure out what the key element is and make sure it sings, rather than competes with everything else you are wearing. Any opera singer will tell you – there can be only one diva!

I’ve got lots of thoughts on style and clothes. I never really blog about them but I’ve been reading some different blogs that really interest me and I think it’s something I’ve been thinking a lot more about. Maybe it’s something I will write more about, not because I’m a guru but the concept of personal style interests me greatly… maybe…

Accessories are important

Accessories are important! And never underestimate how much warmer your legs are in winter in high boots LOL!

I’m a bit of a scarf and necklace obsessive – do you have an accessories weakness?

I’ve also made Vogue 8780 - which is a complete ugly duckling on the envelope and I love to pieces. It’s coming up next! I’ve posted a sneak peek on my instagram feed (yes I know you can’t see much of it – that’s why it’s called a sneak peek.)

Pattern: McCalls 6844
Fabric: NZ Merino from The Fabric Store, Sydney
Also see: Girls in the Garden | Suzy Bee Sews | Mimi G | Beebee’s Vintage Dress

A huge thank you to all the people who have sent me messages, emails, comments and more. Your kindness and courage to say something when it’s often difficult to know what to say is much appreciated. Like so many people, I need more people in my life that value me enough to put me back together rather than pull me apart.
The people that weather the storm and wait on the other side.



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!