Sunshine Sewaholic Gabriola – a mega yellow maxi skirt

I do love maxis. They can be such a statement piece without being overdressed. I particularly love them in strong solids – they pair beautifully with tanks, vests, jackets and accessories. I had been searching for the perfect pattern…

…then along came Gabriola by the ever-clever Tasia of Sewaholic.

While I struggle to wear yellow, I do adore it… and Gabriola screamed to be yellow. I just had a picture in my head of it paired with a white tank, denim and neutral-tone beads. And here’s what happened…

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt

The chevrons hip yokes and lower skirt panels do really beg to be seen. While they create a lovely shape even concealed with a patterned fabric, they do set this particular design apart in the world of maxi skirts. So why not show them off?

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt - side view and seam details

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt – side view and seam details

CONSTRUCTION

As I’ve earlier confessed, I’m not as tall as I appear in my blog (apparently the camera adds 10 pounds to some but it also adds 10 centimetres vertically to me). I love a maxi skirt to be MAXI. I like to wear them with heels (it’s actually unusual to see me without heels on – except at the beach of course).. However Gabriola is quite a lengthy affair. I ended up taking at least 2 to 3 inches off the length of this skirt. It was LOOOONNNNGG.

I made a size 2. The waistband is a little big but the overall fit is great. I know. I’m small and it’s just a stroke of genetic luck. I actually reluctant usually to blog what sizes I make. There are a few bloggers out there that make narky comments about people like me – but like being green – it’s not always easy being small either. People say nasty stuff both in the virtual and real world – because apparently I’m 10kgs lighter if you remove my thick skin. Anyways, such is life.

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt

A really lovely casual skirt. I think I could wear this anywhere.

Gabriola is a most agreeable lass and is not tricky to construct. Perhaps the front seam which pivots where the front skirt joins the yoke might be difficult for newbies but it’s OK if you are patient.

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt

Seam detail – I love how the skirt falls. So pretty.

I did French seam all my seams – with the exception of the front seam where the skirt joins the yoke and the back seam (which I roll hemmed the edges of). I used French seams as I decided the fabric would clearly show all the seam allowances so I wanted them to be consistent and neat. I also managed to get all my seams to meet – which made me feel most chuffed!

I simply overlocked the hemline, turned it over twice and machine stitched it in place.

I do find the waistband sits away from my waist a little – which I suspect is caused by the fact it is drafted as a straight waistband rather than a curved one? I also found the waistband could do with being a little longer as the overlap is quite small. I’m planning to run the zipper up through the waistband next time. Most of my RTW maxis are finished this way and I think it is neater than a button or hook/eye fastener.

I used an invisible zipper. I put in a normal zipper but felt it looked messy. I couldn’t find a yellow invisible zipper so I used a white one… fortunately it actually is invisible so it doesn’t matter too much. I don’t plan to get undressed in public so my secret is safe.

Sewaholic Gabriola Skirt - back view.

Back view. I know it’s long but I like them to sweep the floor and I’m on an uneven pathway – I’m a beach bum like that.

It’s just a plain rayon, nothing fancy. I had a vision of a yellow skirt in my head for some time and this just seemed the perfect opportunity to make that a reality. The fabric is a lovely colour but it does crease with wear – which I hate – and it would be much better lined. I think it would be lovely as a lined skirt in a soft floaty solid voile. This one gets rather saucy in strong sunlight…

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt

hello – I think I’m on fire!

I’ve made this as a muslin for my next version (think silk charmeuse – did I just hear you moan in anticipation?).

Did you notice something else? I’ve got SHOES on! During the course of this week I found a word to describe me - Nelipot one who walks without shoes; one who goes barefoot“. I shall wear that description as a badge of pride!

And while it’s a little clingy – I love the movement in this picture. Experience the full swish of Gabriola…

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt

Gabriola – she likes to make a sweeping entrance!

And if you need another excuse to try this gorgeous pattern – why not enter the Sew Dramatic, Sew Gabriola” Competition at Stitch 56! You can win a $100 voucher and buy more patterns!

Pattern: Sewaholic Gabriola. Purchased from Stitch 56.
Fabric: Yellow rayon from Spotlight

Also see: Cirque Du Babe | Lilacs & Lace

And yes, I’m also not at the beach – I’m on a pathway behind my house… koalas live here…

Lots and lots of very big trees!

Lots and lots of very big trees!

When Chuck met Cambie… or I knitted a jumper…

Just a quick little post… I knitted a jumper!

Chuck by Andi Satterlund - front view

Chuck by Andi Satterlund – front view. Dear God – how tired are those eyes!

This one took me waaaaayyyyy longer than it should of. Once you understand how to knit cables, it’s not that tricky (really, I swear it’s easy - would I lie to you? Thank heavens for YouTube is all I can say…). It’s just concentrating that’s difficult and making sure EVERY SINGLE STITCH you knit/purl/cable corresponds with the knitting graph – that IS the challenge. One stitch wrong in a pattern like this and it’s obvious.

I had to rip back the first 15-20 rows in the pattern… not once but twice! I almost gave up but I knuckled down and I’m glad didn’t give up – and trust me I was soooo tempted to knit something else!

Chuck by Andi Satterlund - pattern not quite perfect but it's FINISHED!

Chuck by Andi Satterlund – pattern not quite perfect but it’s FINISHED! Yes, I was thinking that I completely rocked at this moment.

There is one tiny hiccup near the top of the second pattern repeat. It’s so minor I left it. The thought of ripping back about five or so rows was soul destroying. So I decided to keep my soul in tact and knit on. It’s barely noticeable. I’m glad I kept my soul in one piece.

Love this wool – it’s Malabrigo Worsted in Buscazul Buscando Azul, it’s so soft it feels like cotton wool. I purchase it from yarn.com and it comes down to less that $10 a skein (I used three) + postage.

I think the wide neckline of this design may be somewhat limiting for wear however it’s got the great visual trick of widening out the shoulders while the waist nips into providing a great hourglass shape.

Chuck by Andi Satterlund - back view

Chuck by Andi Satterlund – back view

I do love Andi’s designs, they are snug and cute as a button. They seem to be the perfect paring for Sewaholic Designs (I’ve paired Chuck with my Cambie Pox Dress - and I think they fell in love… he loves her spots and all). Andi’s designs are quite short but they finish bang on your waist and are perfect with retro-style dresses.

when Chuck met Cambie...

when Chuck met Cambie… this photo was taken by Miss 8 – camera settings not quite right (too dark and shadowy) but she was thrilled to have a go at blog photography!

Cambie was also perfect with Marion remember? She’s a versatile lass.

Sewaholic Cambie & Andi Satterlund's Marion

Sewaholic Cambie & Andi Satterlund’s Marion

Next up Andi’s Agatha - in RED!

Jumper: Chuck by Andi Satterlund, Wool from yarn.com
Dresses: Cambie by Sewaholic (if you are in Australia, it’s available from Sew Squirrel).

Psst…. Don’t forget to check out my Crazy Barbie Doll dress and enter the giveaway!

SEWING SURPRISES SWOP (and maybe a new Cambie…)

I’ve been amazed at how frantic life has been since my return from holidays. I should have posted this when I got home – however it was so sweet and lovely I wanted to take lovely pictures… thank you Sparkly Super Nova for organising this! On the upside this post has been lost in the tidal wave of posts following a swop!

Sewing Surprises from Musings of a Seamstress

First up – check out these lovely hair bows that Sarah sent to me for my girls. I know – soooo cute. You can buy these from Sarah Etsy’s shop which will help fund her adoption project – please take some time to read about it here

Bows for Adoption

Bows for Adoption – my girls love these!

She also sent me this necklace which is just perfection. I love love love love it. I know – green with envy? I’m not sure where Sarah got this but it’s perfect and I love it. Even the chain is beautiful and dainty.

Sewing Surprises Swop - neckalce

Sewing Surprises Swop – necklace

And watcha wearing with that Lizzy?

Sewaholic Cambie - Little Skulls

Sewaholic Cambie – Little Skulls. Note to self: iron dress before photos next time Lizzy!

ummmmmm, it might be Cambie No.4…. OK stop laughing. Cambie 1, Cambie 2 & Cambie 3 are all much loved members of my dress family and they wanted a little sister. She’s a bit naughtier than the others… if you look closely…

Skulls Sewaholic Cambie

Skulls Sewaholic Cambie

I love the sweetness of the Sewaholic Cambie shape combined with the quirky little aqua skulls. When I started knitting the cardigan I had an immediate vision the Little Skulls Cambie with it.

There really isn’t much I can’t tell you about Cambie that I haven’t already. It’s a lovely shape, well drafted and by far the easiest full lined dress I’ve made so far.

ICECREAM MARION

Sewaholic Cambie - Little Skulls

Sewaholic Cambie – Little Skulls with Icecream Marion

Cute cardie… did you make that too? Yes I did! I’ve been a bit ‘knit obsessed’ this year. this delightful little monster is Marion by Andi Satterlund. It’s a new release and I just HAD to knit it as soon as I saw it. I adore the cables and I really wanted a longer sleeved cardigan as I wear my Whole Wheat cardigan a lot - cream goes with just about everything. When this cream Malabrigo arrived from yarn.com I was a little disappointed with the colour. Fortunately as soon as I started to knit it up, I fell in love. The colour reminds me of icecream and hence I call this cardigan my Icecream Marion.

It’s perfection with Cambie as it finishes right on the waistband… and Tasia of Sewaholic fame is in fact also knitting this, I spied her over on Ravelry with Marion WIP.

Marion by Andi Satterlund - available on Ravelry

Marion by Andi Satterlund – available on Ravelry

I love the buttons, they are coconut shell. The shop only had one card of four buttons and the pattern said I needed five. Then I read the pattern (I know, novel idea) and I only needed four for the smaller size. If I knit this again (and I’m tempted to in red) I will just do three button holes.

At the Historic Cemetery

At the Historical Cemetery

It just seemed perfect to photograph this dress in our Historical Cemetery. It is no longer used as a cemetery but it is where the free settlers were buried in the early days of European settlement in Port Macquarie, the graves are scattered randomly through beautiful grass and trees, it’s quite serene (this from a girl that freaks out at the idea of serenity). It’s now a beautiful park at the end of our main street.

Dress: Sewaholic Cambie (purchased from Sew Squirrel)
Cardigan: Marion by Andi Satterlund from Ravelry. Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted from yarn.com

I’ve been fearsomely tired this weekend with a crashing headache for two days. Not great pictures but hopefully I’m not looking so drained for my By Hand London Victoria Blazer – which is not far off being finished!!

And my hair is HORRID. Off to get that fixed this Tuesday!

AND! I went to the recent Sydney meet-up organised by Kristy of Lower Your Press Foot - you can check out all the pictures here at Little Betty’s blog… I felt like I cheated but my 1950 vintage lace dress just seemed the perfect choice for High Tea!

The Sydney Meet-up outfit - 1950s lace...

The Sydney Meet-up outfit – 1950s lace…

SoSleepyLizzy – Sewaholic Tofino Pants

Sewaholic Tofino Pants

Oh look SewBusyLizzy – she’s awake!

Agreed. I’m a notoriously busy person. If I’m awake I’m working, exercising, reading, writing, knitting, driving ‘mum’s taxi’, cleaning (not so much…), cooking, talking, laughing,making exceptionally bad jokes, tweeting, facebooking, blogging… and of course sewing!

Every now and then I sleep. Yes really, I DO sleep. Sometimes.

I confess I do sometimes wake up & if I can’t sleep I check Twitter & Facebook… Clearly I find it very hard to ‘stop’. If I’m conscious, my brain starts whirring. I can’t handle yoga, mood lighting & candles horrify me, and don’t even start me on rainforest / whale-singing relaxing tapes.

Since I started sewing my brain has been happily whirring with colours, patterns, design ideas – which has been infinitely more happy to endure than work stress & other stuff. Sewing doesn’t make me sick with anxiety, if my brain is going to be busy – well sewing ain’t such a bad thing to be thinking about, yes?. These days my brain is blissfully happy with creative ideas in spare moments. No brainer right? Sew more people!

So when Karen from Did You Make That? launched the 2013 Pyjama Party I decided perhaps a little more sleeping was in order.

And we all know I like… (OK LOVE) Sewaholic patterns so it was necessary I join in! I jumped online and ordered my Tofinos from Sew Squirrel.

Ta da! Tofino pants!

Sewaholic Tofino Pants

Sewaholic Tofino Pants

These are black voile Swiss dot with pale pink piping. I opted to use a double-sided satin ribbon for the waist sash rather then fabric and I think it’s rather cute. I wanted something a little ‘fancy’, ‘evening wear’, ‘tuxedo’ style.

Paired them with my favorite old concert tshirt – (Chris Isaak, I still love you MWAH).

I had planned to sew a top to go with the pants but my old Chris Isaak tshirt seemed perfect. Can you believe this was sold as a one size fits all?? I guess if it didn’t fit, you could just use it to wipe drool from your chin while watching Chris Isaak perform… (Lizzy enough of the celebrity crush….! ENOUGH).

What can I say? It’s another well-drafted pattern by Tasia. It’s easy to sew. Goes together quickly. It’s got simple yet effective design features… mock fly front, piping to make your pins seem longer, little details to make your PJ bots more than just ‘daks’.

I like the impact of the pink and the black, it’s kinda girly, dressy, masculine all at the same time.

Sewaholic Tofino Pants

Me being a dork (this happens with all too frequently)

I did think about turning up the cuffs and hemming with more piping. HOWEVER! That piping makes stumpy pins look longer. So no external piped cuffs for me. Elle MacPhearson move over. SewBusyLizzy is in da house.

Sewaholic Tofino Pants

Sewaholic Tofino Pants – lotsa piping

I have a deep loathing of tracksuit pants – even if they are warm… however I’m seriously tempted to make these in fleece… somebody stop me!

Me likely. Tofino THUMBS UP. Thank you Tasia MWAH!

BEST.SLIPPERS.EVER

I know BEST.SLIPPERS.EVER. Sheepskin from NZ. Love

BTW. I’ve nearly finished Cambie no.4 & Cambie no.5 is in progress…

BTW2. My Abakhan fabrics 15 Pound Aussie project is also nearly completed. It’s cool! Watch this space!

BTW3. My By Hand London Victoria Blazer is also in progress (yes I’m a stitcher with ADHD at the moment) and its looking WICKED. Silk dupioni, vintage sari… patience people!

Thanks Karen!

RETURN OF MOJO & 15 POUND AUSSIE

Firstly thank you so very much for all your lovely comments on my last post. It was surprisingly cathartic to write and I really appreciate your comments. I never expected to win, I suspect my reaction/thoughts are simply the outcome of working in a highly regulated environment where opinion, personality & relationships cease to exist. Everything is done by ‘due process’… and I sew to escape it. So rather than looking for reasons, explanations, criteria – I’m just going to except there isn’t always going to be those things in my sewing world and that’s what I need.

£15 AUSSIE RETURNS: Abakhan Fabrics
I finished my £15 Aussie project for Abakhan Fabricsbefore I left for London. This month I chose a lovely grey wool suiting and I must say I was rather taken with it!

I used Simplicity 2451 – a skirt much beloved by bloggers. I added a lining and hand stitched the zipper in.

For £15 this is a brilliant work skirt. I loved wearing it. There will be more – no time for detail pictures, I had to fly to London! I should not have put my hands in the pocket for this picture, it looks like it pulls and it doesn’t.

20130414-193423.jpg

And I’ve been busy sewing and knitting other things…

a detail shot of my just-finished Vine Bolero (Ravelry)

20130414-195235.jpg

And a Japanese rayon knit Sewaholic Renfrew

20130414-195429.jpg

and I’ve managed to squeeze a skirt out of this.

20130414-195716.jpg

Must go. I’ve got to pack a bag for Paris…

PS: Abakhan sent me a ‘few’ things for the meet-up…

20130414-201835.jpg

Made-by-Me in Tasmania

Great Lake, Miena Tasmania

Great Lake, Miena Tasmania

I’ve been away for a week in Tasmania. Just a quiet week, not too much sightseeing as I’ve been to Tasmania five or six times now! The holiday house is located in the central highlands of Tasmania, it’s in a little town which is basically composed of little holiday houses and very few permanent residents, it’s trout fishing country so many are shacks more than houses - quite quirky and charming in their ramshackle way.

It was nice to have a slower holiday, it helps you stop and see the little things that you might otherwise zoom by…

Pretty little flowers in the park at Cressy

Pretty little flowers in the park at Cressy

Little Australian bush flowers

Little Australian bush flowers

Most of the clothes I wore on holidays were made-by-me. I’m never sure if it’s the novelty factor of wearing my made-by-me clothes or just that they are nicer than my RTW that means they are always my first choice in the morning. The nicest thing happened in Deloraine, Tasmania. I was wandering along the main street, wearing my Lonsdale with red flats and my Whole Wheat slung over my arm. A little elderly lady was sitting in her car, she flung open her car door and stopped me to tell me how gorgeous she thought my clothes were – that I was ‘quite the picture’. Once I explained I made my clothes, we then had a lovely chat about how much she adored making her own clothes too. That was a real holiday highlight for me!

Maria Denmark Day-to-Night Top and Whole Wheat Cardigan from Ravelry

Maria Denmark Day-to-Night Top and Whole Wheat Cardigan from Ravelry

My MariaDenmark and Sewaholic clothes got a lot of wear – and my Whole Wheat cardigan, my first knitted project in YEARS was in regular rotation.

Sewaholic Lonsdale and Whole Wheat cardigan

Sewaholic Lonsdale and Whole Wheat cardigan – in King Solomon’s Cave, Mole Creek Tasmania. It’s 9 degrees down here all year round! I’m cold but not quite freezing in this picture…

We took some lovely pictures in the caves but WordPress keeps reverting them to the wrong orientation. *sigh* patience required.

Maria Denmark Birgitte Top and Yasmin Yoke Skirt

Maria Denmark Birgitte Top and Yasmin Yoke Skirt. I made this top from a $1 skirt from a second-hand stall

You will notice a new little skirt has popped up. This is the Maria Denmark Yasmin Yoke skirt.. It’s a simple make and very easy to fit as you go along. I’m not thrilled with this fabric although I like the pattern. The fabric is a butter suede and while it looks and feels lovely from the outside, it’s a bit ‘sticky’ on my skin – it really needs to be linted (note to self: remember that when you use the blue butter suede in the stash!). I think I will try making this up in some lightweight demin, it’s very easy to wear as it doesn’t sit too high on your waist.

I also made up a black/white stripey top from Maria Denmark’s Birgette pattern. I cheated on this t-shirt. I made it from a $1 skirt I picked up at the school fete. It was a long tube skirt and too big for me. I cut the body pieces so the skirt hem was the t-shirt hem. I also have not bothered to hem the sleeves. I don’t think this sort of stark stripe is my thing, it’s a bit harsh. Anyway for $1 I’m not too perturbed – I love the t-shirt pattern, I like the negative ease.

We saw lots of little creatures in Tasmania. It really is the place to see Australian wildlife, once you get away from the towns and cities. On the way to house on the first night we saw four Tasmanian Devils, a Spotted Eastern Quoll, countless wallabies, two wombats and more – meaning we had to drive slowly to avoid hitting them! No doubt they were driven to the roadsides in search of food as much of the country we drove through once we got the to Great Western Tiers which has suffered in the recent bushfires.

A little echidna trying to mind his own business

A little echidna trying to mind his own business

Mother Nature can be harsh…

Maria Denmark day-to-night dress, take 2 - side view

Maria Denmark day-to-night dress, take 2 – side view

Maria Denmark day-to-night dress - take 2

Maria Denmark day-to-night dress – take 2

The above dress is my second Maria Denmark Day-to-night dress – I found this amazing knit at Lincraft, it’s a rayon knit, lovely and light (and it was half price in the recent sale). It was intended to be a Sewing Cake Tirsmisu – and while there are so many lovely Tiramisu’s out there in the blogsphere, I’ve yet to find a fabric that screams Tiramisu to me. SewImpatientLizzy!

I’ve worn this dress a lot, out and just around the house, it’s so comfortable and flattering. And yes, it really takes about 60 minutes to make!

Whole Wheat Cardigan was a star of the trip – thank you Rachel for your encouragement! My cardigan is not quite perfect, in fact I’ve nicknamed it my Amish Cardigan – I once read that the Amish always incorporated one mistake into their quilts as only God is perfect. I am very much not perfect so I incorporated many mistakes! :-)

Sewaholic Cambie and Whole Wheat cardigan

Sewaholic Cambie and Whole Wheat cardigan. This is waaay to early in the morning for me. PLus I didn’t take a hair dryer away – yes! A real holiday!!

I nearly finished a cardigan for my daughter – I’m knitting the sleeves now and then just the button bands to go. This pattern is Langston from Ravelry, a really sweet little cardigan. I knitting it with a Paton’s wool called Romance. It’s a yummy merino/cashmere blend and I picked it up at Lincraft just before I left for holidays. It was marked down from $9 a ball to $3.99 – like it’s meant to be. I started it once I got through airport security with my needles, I was worried some nasty airport man would make me rip the knitting off!

Langston from Ravelry

Langston from Ravelry

I’ve learnt so much about knitting in the last month. Thanks to YouTube and Google, I’ve mastered cables, SSK, the Magic Loop technique and more. If you can knit plain and purl stitches but think that knitting a cardigan or jumper is beyond you – it’s not true. I watched several YouTube videos and have vastly increased my knitting abilities. Don’t underestimate yourself. If you are determined you can do anything!

Ravelry has been a relevation to me. It’s like facebook for knitters and crocheters, an amazing source of inspiration, patterns (lots of free ones at that!) and more. It’s free to join so if you are curious go and have a look! And you can friend me – my name is SewBusyLizzy (yes I’m imaginative!).

I arrived home to the most amazing package from Blogless Anna (go and check out her adorable parrot blouse). I’m actually speechless – she sent me some fabric which she picked up at The Fabric Store’s recent sale. She said she got it home and realised it wasn’t her. So she sent it to me – it’s SoSewBusyLizzy that I’m refraining from wrapping myself up in it and rolling about on the floor. Thank you Anna – I adore it!! I have a couple of ideas how I’m going to use it… once I stop patting it.

More on that in my next blog post – along with a couple of sewing goodies I discovered at the Evandale Market in Tasmania. Plus I got a couple of really exciting emails while I was in Tasmania as well! Watch this space :-)

Give the girl some Pendrellicin – she’s a Sewaholic (the Pendrell)

Note: I’m on holidays and typing this on an IPad and using the WordPress app (which is good but not perfect) so excuse any weird formatting ‘stuff’ – I blame the app – not Happy Hour.

Jungle January here I come!

Sewaholic Pendrell -when two wrongs make a right

Sewaholic Pendrell -when two wrongs make a right

OK. To be honest here is another Sewaholic pattern that I didn’t think was quite me. Too frilly, too… I don’t know, too something! Frills kinda scare me. Then I saw Trisha’s version in her Top 5 of 2012 and I decided to give it a try after all. Trisha’s didn’t look too frilly or fussy so I decided to give it a whirl.

And then for some reason I decided despite the fact I’m not into animal print at all either, that I would make it for Pretty Grievances, Jungle January.

Yeah Lizzy that makes sense, put to things together you are not horribly keen on and see if that works…

Sewaholic Pendrell front view

Sewaholic Pendrell front view

Ah yeah, in this case that old saying two wrongs don’t might a right? Grandma was wrong, wrong, wrong.

I think that situation was somewhat helped along by this nice rayon fabric that I dug up in Lincraft. It’s lightweight, lots of drape and not at all shiny. I fear shiny things.

What to say about Pendrell? That hasn’t been said already? It’s a lovely pattern - hello? it’s Sewaholic what did you expect Lizzy? As reported on the blogs here and there, it’s quite long – however given I had no intention of wearing this little number untucked that wasn’t a drama.

The construction wasn’t quite what I expected. It’s princess seamed. You sew back and front middle pieces together at the shoulders, then you attach the first set of frills – which are 100% cool as I was freakin’ out about hemming those little puppies. You fold the frills in half and then attach the frills to the central pieces raw edges together. Then you kinda sew the side pieces and attach the second set of frills, sew the side to the middles in what felt like the LONGEST seam in history… ARGH I’m on holidays… get the pattern, make the top and read the instructions people! Tasia needs to eat.

In essence the raw edges and whatnot are sandwiched between seams and binding making it quite a tidy little make. It’s like frills for cheaters! Or cheetahs in this case (pun intended… sorry).

I do admit I was kinda hating this during the making and thinking “argh this is sooooo NotBusyLizzy whatcha thinkin’ girl??”‘. I was exceptionally tired and headache-y and it was a battle of me and my prejudices. Then I popped it on and I was SoSurprisedBusyLizzy – it’s not too shabby at all. What the???? Could I have been wrong?? (don’t tell ELH… Argh! he’s a blog follower, my cover is blown!)

My neck bias binding looks like a drunk monkey stitched it on (or one with a seriously nasty headache and attitude). Unfortunately I cannot share this joyous sewing triumph with you as I forgot to document my shoddy work in all its glory – I’m in Tasmania and my top is in New South Wales (I uploaded these images before I left – hence no back view pictures either). Sorry darlings, you will just have to trust me on this one – sometimes my sewing does suck. The good news is it looks quite snappy on the outside and since I stopped wearing clothes inside out when I was about 3 years old I’m not too upset.

So what did I learn?

Yes, yes, I’m a confessed Sewaholic – that’s not news to anyone!

When I first started sewing Sewaholic was fairly new as a pattern company, I didn’t think any of them were very ‘me’. Ummmm yes, might have been wrong there….

The thing we all need to learn is… look past the line drawings, look past the company styling. You might think a pattern is not ‘you’ – but perhaps it is.

You need to find ways to make things/patterns ‘your style’, put your stamp on them. You don’t need to be Tasia to wear Colette, or Sarai to wear Colette – just be you.

Pick your fabric, choose your accessories and make it yours.

Haven’t you noticed that the most interesting person in the room is always the person who is completely themself, comfortable in their own skin and not quite like anyone else?

You can be that person.

Sew something outside your comfort zone.

Surprise yourself.

Life is short (and our pattern stashes large).

Sewaholic Pendrell - better leave this stuff to Bimble & Pimble

Sewaholic Pendrell – better leave this posing stuff to Bimble & Pimble

And have I worn the Two Wrongs Make a Right Jungle January? Yes ma’am! I wore it to work as photographed, pencil skirt and heels. And this photo shoot was totally Jungle – I was munched by v.hungry mosquitoes with every snap of the camera. Ouch!

Thanks Anne for dragging out my inner cheetah. xox.

SEWAHOLIC LONSDALE – a case of Lonsdalitis confirmed

Hello Lonsdale.

Sewaholic Lonsdale - front view

Sewaholic Lonsdale – front view

Yes, once again I have been afflicted with another Sewaholic condition. This one I’ve nicknamed Lonsdalitis. (Sorry feeling tired and my imagination is poor today – if you come up with a better medical term for this condition please let me know and I amend).

This is the Sewaholic Lonsdale dress – purchased from Sew Squirrel (where I get my Sewaholic & Colette Pattern – she also stocks Megan Nielsen, Jalie, By Hand London, Made by Rae and now some haberdashery I noticed! I’m trying hard not to purchase any sewing patterns for a few month as I’m saving for the April/May London trip – woo hoo!

To be honest it took me awhile to succumb to this pattern. I just didn’t think it would suit me. Clearly I’m stoopid and required a bossy personal stylist (or perhaps learn to turn a deaf ear to that nasty little lady that lives inside my head – you know the one – I think she haunts us all), as I think it does quite suit me after all.

When I saw this sweet navy/red/white voile in Spotlight it was destined to be a Lonsdale – the size of the print and the whimsical style just seemed perfect for this graceful sundress.

I did make a mistake when I purchased this… I didn’t think it was directional. I just thought it was random daisies. When I laid it out to cut it – I discovered the vast majority of the daisy stems pointed in one direction. Ooooops.

Sewaholic Lonsdale

Sewaholic Lonsdale – pushing up daisies in the right direction

What to do? I certainly didn’t want my Lonsdale to be ‘pushing up daisies’ in the wrong direction! Well one of the blessings of being a not-so-well-endowed vertically-challenged individual means that I cut a Sewaholic size 0 so I can often fit more across the width of the fabric than the pattern layout indicates. So with a bit of wiggling and jiggling I almost squeezed it out. Almost. The straps of the bodice are enormous – very very very long, nearly a metre! I could not get four complete front bodices out of the fabric – so I simply pieced the straps and used these bodice pieces as the lining. And due to the print being ‘so busy’ its hard to find the seam. Woo hoo for Lizzy!

Lonsdale strap join

Lonsdale strap join

While I cut this dress out as size 0 I cut the skirt at a size 16 length. For me, I like the flared skirts to be longer, I think it creates a nicer silohette on my frame. I think it balances the flare of the skirt and the bare shoulders, it makes it more graceful than cute. I’m not much chop in the cute department (not that I’m at all gracious either – but its more fun to pretend to be gracious than cute). Then again I could just be a ‘grandma’ about these things. Some people have commented that I look very 70s… I’m hoping they mean era and not age. ;-) I think it would make a rather fabulous maxi in the right fabric.

Sewaholic Lonsdale - the front view

Sewaholic Lonsdale – the front view

I also attached some simple cotton trim to the hem…

Sewaholic Lonsdale, the hem

Sewaholic Lonsdale, the hem – with a little bit of trim…

I made no muslin (naughty Lizzy *giggle*) I figured my Cambie are a nice snug fit so this would be so too. NOT TRUE. It was a little too loose in the back and given the nature of this bodice I decided it had to be fixed. I did consider pulling it all apart – instead I cheated *giggle*. I ran two darts in the back near the strap loops, tapering down to nothing above the waistband. Worked a treat and as this is such a busy print and it has the back bow, it’s not noticeable. Plus I wanted to wear it to a Christmas party the next day.

Sewaholic Lonsdale - the back view

Sewaholic Lonsdale – the back view

This is a seriously easy dress to make, yes even though it is lined and has a zipper.

I put in a standard dress zipper as that’s what the pattern calls for. Next time I’m going invisible (no not like the Emperor’s New Clothes! I’m talking about the zipper!) especially if I’m using a fabric like voile or lawn (which is my favorite poison in the fabric department).

I would also cut the straps slightly longer next time, rather like Boo Dogg & Me did recently.

Speaking about zippers – my Coats & Clark pack arrived which I won on Pattern Review for this dress. I was expecting a few zippers. There is a ton! They also sent me a cute as a button thread package – AND a gorgeous tin. Awwww ain’t it cute!!! Polka dots, camo, silver, gold – it’s amazing!

Pattern Review have released their 2013 competitions – I think I might try to enter some this year – for no other reason than it provides a goal – I’m a goal orientated person!

Coats & Clark Zippers

Coats & Clark Zippers

Plus I forgot to mention that I also made an apron for my MIL for Christmas. It’s SQUEE cute. She loved it (I’m pretty sure she did anyway. She phoned up ELH to tell him she did which is a good sign, don’t you think?).

Sorry not my best photos – the sun glare was awful and I had to stand in the shade so I didn’t squint like I was 70!

Top 5 Favourite/Most Worn 2012

Top 5 of 2012

Gillian at Crafting a Rainbow is posting her Top 5 hits/misses/reflections/inspirations/goals for 2012. Great idea.

I think it’s always great to sit back and reflect on hits & misses – celebrate your moments of joy and absorb what you have learnt from the ‘minor’ hiccups.

So here are mine. Can you guess Number 1? Sorry no prizes for guessing the obvious…

SEWAHOLIC CAMBIE - I’ve got THE CAMBIE POX
Well you are hardly surprised are you? I adore these dresses. Beautiful finish, fit and the two skirts produce two completely different dresses. I adore my floral the most, with polka dots a very close second and then the lovely black number (it’s very sensible which makes outrageous adoration a little pathetic).

Sewaholic Cambie, View B

Sewaholic Cambie, View B. The perfect sundress, pretty, ladylike but not ‘old & fussy’.

SEWAHOLIC ALMA - not squee or twee
The perfect woven top. No buttons, no buttonholes, no fuss, versatile, comfortable. Perfect. If I had to teach the world to sew in perfect harmony… we would all be making Almas. There is enough variation in that pattern to keep anyone happy.I would be hard pressed (no pun intended) to choose a favourite between these tops.

Sewaholic Alma - view A

Sewaholic Alma – view A

Sewaholic Alma - not squee or twee... just me

Sewaholic Alma – not squee or twee… just me

VOGUE 1247 Skirt & top - the tardis skirt and top
Love, love, love this skirt. Amazing. Best casual skirt ever. I wear it all year round thanks to boots and leggings. We are BFFs.
Top is gorgeous. It could look big and boxy but in the right fabric it drapes beautifully. I wear the skirts and top… a lot.
This picture doesn’t do the pattern justice. However if you don’t have this pattern you really must buy it.

Vogue 1247 on apron day

What I really wore all day… Vogue 1247 top and skirt…

VOGUE 1236 - not a sack of potatoes a frolicking frock!
This was one of my early makes. It’s not super flash but it’s so comfortable, nicely finished and I wear it quite a lot. A lovely simple pattern.

Vogue 1236 - Definitely not a Sack of Potatoes

Vogue 1236 – Definitely not a Sack of Potatoes

SEWAHOLIC LONSDALE
I made this last week and worn it twice already. Great casual summer dress, flattering, simple to make and comfortable. Yes, yes! Pictures coming very soon.

Sewaholic Lonsdale fabric choice

Sewaholic Lonsdale fabric choice

HONORABLE MENTIONS

MARIADENMARK
I haven’t had a chance to take photos for the blog for my Yasmin Yoke skirts. Or make my final pair of Winnie Wide Leg Trousers. I suspect they will be on my 2013 Top 5 list!

Life intervened in a spectacular way late this year… work, family, you name it, was all going pear shaped. Casual clothes I find easy to photograph as I spend lots of time on the beach. Work clothes I am always racing out the door and the evenings are long and late and the light is bad. Great simple design, easy to wear and make. Although I did sneak in this picture when I had to pick one of my girls up (sent home from school sick – so I enlisted her to take a blog photo. Come on! She just had ‘itchy eyes’ which turned out to be an allergy and was better within an hour of medication and home!)

Sewaholic Alma - work blouse

Sewaholic Alma – as a work blouse. I’ve paired this with Maria Denmark a-line Yasmin Yoke skirt!

I have only muslined the Winnie wide leg trousers, I suspect these are my perfect trousers. They fit perfectly, I adore the wide legs and they are really easy to cut out and put together. There are not a million and one pieces. Just a simple clean design. Love them. There will be a ‘real’ pair of these in 2013.

MariaDenmark Winnie Trousers: muslin back

MariaDenmark Winnie Trousers: muslin back

Love the simple t-shirt and look forward to making more – I also printed out the Kimino tshirt pattern this week. I’ve also just purchased her brand new Day to Night top which I’ve just got to get some elastic for! It’s just $5.50 on Craftsy at the moment – special introductory price!!

MariaDenmark Birgitte Basic T-shirt - short sleeved t-shirt

MariaDenmark Birgitte Basic T-shirt – short sleeved t-shirt

SELFLESS SEWING
I adored making the Fishing Vest, it was trimmed with all manner of frivolousness, she admires it, I adored making it.

A Fishing Vest - this project was a blast, I loved every minute.

A Fishing Vest – this project was a blast, I loved every minute.

Confirmation dress. Not my most stellar make but again Miss 7 adores it and that’s the most important thing of all! I think it’s in her Top 5!

Giselle's confirmation

Giselle’s confirmation – she is doing well not to shiver. It was freezing and they made us wait outside in a cold wind for 20 minutes! Lovely!

APRONS
This might seem a weird choice but I loved making these – thank you Karen for a light-hearted sewalong that really got me to make something completely different! I loved photographing them – particularly when the tourists started taking pictures of me too! They are just fun. I’ve even made an amazing one as a Christmas gift. Yes, yes! You can see it soon!

Butterick B5474, view E: Strawberry Fields Forever

Butterick B5474, view E: Strawberry Fields Forever. Oh and that? In the background? That’s coathanger – also known as Sydney Harbour Bridge.

NOT SQUEE OR TWEE… JUST ME… Sewaholic Alma: View B

Sewaholic Alma - not squee or twee... just me

Sewaholic Alma – not squee or twee… just me

I’ve been in love with this fabric ever since I spied it in the deserted rayon fabric corner of Lincraft.

Sewaholic Alma: sneak peek

Sewaholic Alma fabric – I LOVE these birdies

I kept going back and stroking the roll… and not buying it… I eventually realised that I would always regret not buying it once it disappeared and I couldn’t visit it any more. I could only imagine it as a top – with very few seams or darts – so I purchased a metre to soothe the birdie craving.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to make another Alma and it occurred to me that the birdies might work. I love this Sewaholic pattern, I’m not much into fuss and the simplicity of this design really appeals to me, no buttons, no frills, no tucks just a blouse that sits beautifully. I adore my first Alma (how could I not with all the compliments I get when I wear it!) and the love affair looks set to continue!

1204 Sewaholic Alma Envelope Art

1204 Sewaholic Alma – a beautiful versatile blouse

I decided to make View B which is the Peter Pan collar version. It feels a little ‘sweet’ to me so I decided to add a black contrast collar to take down the ‘twee’ factor a notch.

This pattern is a cinch to sew but I took my time. As it is rayon it is a little more ‘flighty’ than an obedient voile or lawn. I cut it out carefully and did the best I could to line up those slightly wonky wires that the birdies are perched upon.

As with my first Alma, I french seamed the shoulders and non-zip side. I even managed to get the fabric lines to match up at the front and back darts.

Sewaholic Alma - the side zipper

Sewaholic Alma – the side zipper

I also used the trick I learnt when I made the MariaDenmark tshirt & Simplicity 1880 - setting in the sleeve flat. How much easier does that make setting in a sleeve!!!

I wore it to work today – paired with my Maria Denmark Yasmin Yoke skirt. This skirt is very simple to make/fit and even has two little pockets. It’s available as a PDF download, and the pattern itself is just 12 pages! I don’t tend to print out the instructions, I read them on Evernote on my iPhone or iPad as I sew to save paper. There is also the benefit of enlarging bits to read! Maria sent me this skirt when she released the pattern – and it’s just taken me ages to photograph it (sorry Maria!). I whipped up two of these skirts over two nights – and I made this black one from the leftovers from my Sewaholic Thurlows. It’s very easy to fit. You sew the front and back and then pin the sides together and take in as necessary before you sew the side seams.

Sewaholic Alma - work blouse

Sewaholic Alma – as a work blouse. I’ve paired this with Maria Denmark a-line Yasmin Yoke skirt! Photo by my daughter!

I’ve also made the Yasmin Yoke skirt in a burgundy ‘butter suede’ (whatever synthetic concoction that is!). So will need to photograph that too sooner or later! This skirt can be made in two lengths – as usual I favoured the ‘hussy’ length version :-)

Slight Mishap

Despite being so careful in the making of this Alma, I botched the collar.

Like Sew {MM} when I added the facings to the neckline, I flipped them over to discover that the collar did not meet perfectly in the middle. I decided I could live with it. I even bought buttons to sew in the little gap to make it look deliberate.

Then we had a family trip to Sydney and on the way home I decided I could not live with it after all. I just felt as the collar was such a strong contrast to the rest of the top it was just too ‘obvious’ any attempt to disguise it would just look like a botched job.

Even though I had trimming back the neckline seam allowances, I unpicked about two-thirds of the front neckline. I ran a gathering stitch across the blouse body neckline I had unpicked. I used this to pull the neckline in just a tiny bit, re-basted the collar back onto the blouse, re-attached the facings and hey presto collar perfect! If I make this version of Alma again I will definitely be running that row of gathering stitches around the neckline before attaching the collar and facings.

I should have taken photos of the botched job but I had been sucked into a black hole of sewing pain & dilemma and could not think of anything else but my collar!! Sorry!

I’m really pleased with this ‘fix’ as you can’t tell that there is any gathering at all – it is very minor. And it saved the birdies from a fate worth than death… the rag bag!!

WHAT I LEARNT

Sometimes it’s better to just get up and walk away from the sewing machine when something goes wrong. Leave it for a few days but don’t give up on a problem. Sometimes the solution will pop into your head when you least expect it. Just let it happen don’t let the frustration or disappointment overwhelm you. Remember it’s a hobby not a life/death scenario. :-)

VERDICT

I’m really happy with this blouse. I feel like I’ve somehow blended ‘twee & squee’ and come up with something that is very ‘me’.

Sewaholic Alma - not squee or twee

Sewaholic Alma – not squee or twee. Picture taken late in the afternoon – light not so good!

DETAILS
Inspiration:
Marie of A Sewing Odyssey
Alma Blouse: pattern from Sew Squirrel (no postage charge to Aussie stitchers!!). Fabric: rayon blend from Lincraft. Size 0
Maria Denmark Yasmin Yoke Skirt: Pattern available on Craftsy. Fabric from Lincraft – leftovers from my Sewaholic Thurlows.
Vogue 1247 skirt: Blogged about here.

Made-by-me family

Made-by-me family. Me in Vogue 1247 skirt & Alma blouse. LIttle Miss in her confirmation dress that I made/designed.