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 🙂

Timeless: Vogue 1351 for Minerva Crafts

Vogue 1351 - the neckline

Vogue 1351 – the neckline

When Vogue 1351 was released, I was underwhelmed. The styling, the fit and photography – it does the dress no favours – I look at the models and think EAT A HAMBURGER & STAND UP STRAIGHT! Despite that I kept returning to it, perhaps because I am a cowl junkie (see here, here and here for evidence)…

Vogue 1351 - who wore it better...

Vogue 1351 – I look positively beefy here and I’m a towering 5 foot 4 & weigh in under 50kg.

I’m glad I did. It’s simply lovely. It’s not fancy, it’s not attention seeking… it’s just quietly ‘there’. Simple clean lines…

Vogue 1351, front view

Vogue 1351, front view

I know that bias-cut patterns scare some people. However the simplicity of this dress means that the construction is simple, there are minimal seams to stretch out, very few seamlines to match. The skirt skims and flares. The bodice is simple and drapes. The fit is not complex. I love bias.

This triple crepe fabric is quite heavy but falls nicely. I think the weight of the fabric lends itself well to a bias cut as it’s more forgiving over any lumps or bumps than a clingier knit fabric.

Kathryn and Laura have also made this crepe up and both commented about how it frays. As all my pieces, except the back piece, were cut on the bias, fraying was not an issue for me.

Vogue 1351, back view

Vogue 1351, back view. The skirt on this dress is simply lovely.

Here is the good news…

  • Lining: 5 pieces & Shell: 5 pieces.
  • Zip: invisible
  • Just two darts in the front bodice lining. There are no tucks, no pleats.

The dress is beautifully lined. The cowl attaches to the lining and the inside of the dress is fabulous.

You could just line the bodice if you are not a lining fan.

Vogue 1351 - interior

Vogue 1351 – interior

I adore the colour of this fabric – it’s not too purple if that makes sense. And there have been two recent Minerva makes from exactly the same shade of triple crepe – there is something about the aubergine (Kathryn’s New Look dress * Laura’s Lisette Dress)… I almost made this in ‘jade’ which I think would be gorgeous… and black would be absolutely perfection as a LBD…. note to self: make this in black…

Lining a sleeveless dress is a little bit fiddly. I needed to concentrate (ie not tweet) when attaching the cowl to the lining and bodice – and joining the shoulders.

I lined this dress with a heavier than usual ‘Italian anti static’ polyester/viscose lining. It was lovely to work with – and much easier to cut out and handle than bemsilk for a change.

Things I did differently..

  • The patterns asks you to sew above and below where you insert the zip. It’s an invisible zip and I could see no good reason to make the zip insertion more difficult. I inserted it as per a usual invisible zip insertion and sewed the seam above and below the zip afterwards.
  • I also found sewing the lining to the dress waistline very tricky after sewing the lining to the zipper tape. I would sew the lining to the waistband first next time… I think!

This dress construction is not rocket science. It’s simple yet lovely. It doesn’t need a billion pleats, pockets or design features. It just is what it is and it works.

Things I would do differently…

I should have interfaced the seam where the zip is inserted. It does ripple slightly. Not enough to be a bother but I do notice it.

The pattern features a narrow rolled hem. My last Minerva project I showed how to do this – this time I used a rolled hem foot as I got one for my birthday in November (tricky getting around the side seams though!). At first I didn’t like the rolled hem. I thought the crepe was too heavy for it… but looking at the photos I love the subtle fluting it creates so I think I will leave it. The other way to finish this hem would be creating a facing as Sam, another Minerva Blogger, did with her pink crepe skirt.

Pattern: Vogue 1351, made as a size 6, no alterations.
Fabric: Triple Crepe in Aubergine from Minerva Crafts.
Kit: available from Minerva Crafts.

Also see (fabric): Laura | Kathryn
Also see (pattern): Little Betty | Sunny Gal Studio | Very Purple Person

I’m lucky enough to be able to stop at the beach after work and stroll across the sand like this… I know, life is tough…

Vogue by the seashore

Vogue by the seashore

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.

Christmas Skirts for my Girls – Burda 9489

I’ve always wanted to make something for my kids for Christmas and this year, despite being busier than ever – I managed it!

Burda 9489 Christmas Skirts
Christmas Skirts for my girls

I chose Burda 9489.

Burda 9489 - skirt & dress

I really love the Burda catalogue for kids. Their designs are modern and not too cutsie. Once your kids get to a certain age they are really not interested in wearing frilly, flouncy princess-style dresses.

Not much to tell you about this skirt. I made View B. It’s got curved hip yoke pockets with contrasting fabric trim. The skirt is gathered onto a waistband with a back zipper closure. The waistband has belt loops.

I made a size 7 with added length for Zoe. Zoe is 10 but tall and very lean for her age – just like her dad. Zoe’s is the owl skirt. It’s a quilting weight cotton, trimmed with red polka dot poplin. She was VERY cranky the afternoon we took photos so I don’t have too many of just Zoe – she’s a gorgeous tween when she’s not scowling LOL. I fear she is going to be a heartbreaker…

Burda 9489 - Zoe Rose
Burda 9489 – Zoe Rose

Giselle is my youngest daughter, she’s 8. I cut her a straight size 10. I added some lace trim out of the stash to her hem and got a piece of grosgrain ribbon for her belt – she has been dying to star on ‘Mummy’s blog’ for ages! We took some photos late one evening in town under the big Christmas tree. The light was not great but they do capture her personality beautifully, she’s a funny little soul with an old-fashioned air about her. So here she is… my little Giselle Violet…

Burda 9489 - Giselle Violet.
Burda 9489 – Giselle Violet.
Burda 9489 - back view
Burda 9489 – back view
Burda 9489
Burda 9489

They have had lots of compliments and I’m so pleased to managed to squash these into my sewing schedule.

Burda 9489 - my gorgeous girls!
Burda 9489 – my gorgeous girls! Big Sis and Little Sis as they call each other, such different little personalities but great mates.

Celebrate your Christmas with the joy of a child…

Giselle - my crazy little munchkin
Giselle – my crazy little munchkin

Pattern: Burda 9489, view B
Fabric: Christmas prints from Spotlight

I’ll be back on Monday with my Minerva make!