A drunk Candy Cane draped t-shirt… and goodbye 2014…

I decided to make a draped garment for Christmas Day… I know. Not surprised?

Drape Drape 2, Number 4. Back/side view.

Drape Drape 2, Number 4. Back/side view.

I had planned a ‘drunk candy’ draped tank dress (plenty of room of Christmas lunch). I loved the idea of messing with the ubiquitous candy canes at this time of year. However the only red striped knit I could find was a much finer stripe than I wanted to get the right look. So I decided to make a t-shirt instead – and settled on Drape Drape 2, Number 4 – previously blogged here.

Note: I didn’t get drunk on Christmas Day. In fact I very rarely get drunk, tipsy is about as exciting as I get.

Drape Drape 2, Number 4. Front view

Drape Drape 2, Number 4. Front view

Drape Drape 2, Number 4. Back View

Drape Drape 2, Number 4. Back View

This is such a simple t-shirt to make, one piece for the body & one piece for the neck. It took less than an hour to sew up – with sleeves & the hem finished on my coverstitch machine (a beast I am slowly taming & learning to love).

Construction tips: The neckline on this is huge – this is a Japanese S/M size and I tend to pull it backwards so it’s not indecently low. I’d also say if you are stripe-matching junkie – this is not for you. You just have to surrender to the crazy for this one.

Drape Drape 2, Number 4. Draped sleeve stripes - 'not' matching.

Drape Drape 2, Number 4. Draped sleeve stripes – ‘not’ matching.

Drape Drape 2, Number 4. 'Straight' sleeve stripes - 'not' matching.

Drape Drape 2, Number 4. ‘Straight’ sleeve stripes – ‘not’ matching.

We took the above photos post-Christmas in the first break in the rain (it’s been stinking hot and sunny ever since of course). On Christmas Day I looked so exhausted and I was – I slept for four hours during Christmas Day. I’m so glad that the offices are closed and I have 11 days to rest.

I can't ever remember being this tired on Christmas Day

Christmas Day – I can’t ever remember being this tired on Christmas Day 😦

So ends 2014…

I’m not a New Year type. I think I will wake up tomorrow and be the same person, in the same life. I guess that sounds cynical – but it’s also reality.

The last 12 months weren’t what I expected this time last year. Everything changes over time, that’s how life is – for the better and worse. People come into your life, some people leave. People may add to your life – others might just subtract. There are challenges and triumphs. Joys and sadness. You have memories to treasure and those memories you wish you didn’t have. Today I remembered a poem my mother once wrote in a book for me…

Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone,
Kindness in another’s trouble,
Courage in your own.
from Ye Wearie Wayfarer by Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833 – 1870)

That all sounds glummer than it should. It’s not meant to. I’m generally a positive person. I like to laugh. I like happiness. It’s a good way to live.

May your days be filled happiness – and on the not-so-good days – with kindness and courage.

Pattern: Drape Drape 2, Number 4.
Fabric: Cotton/polyester knit from The Fabric Store, Brisbane

Simplicity 1589 – a polka dot peekaboo top!

I’ve been churning out tops recently. I had a lack of ‘summer separates’ so I decided to take action – amazing! Practical sewing by me!

To start off the sewing binge, I made Simplicity 1589 – a ‘learn to sew’ pattern.

Simplicity 1589, view A

Simplicity 1589, view A. Our Christmas weather has been rubbish – so much rain!

I had always been drawn to the peekaboo and lapped backs of this pattern – so when a pattern sale came along, I decided to buy it. I don’t particularly mind whether a pattern is advanced or easy – if it works, it works. I also love that this pattern is a fabric miser.

Simplicity 1589

Simplicity 1589

I made this with less than a metre of fabric – left over from my first Grainline Alder (Jillian of Sew Unravelled… you were so right about not making a belt for the Alder – the fabric was perfect for a top). It’s a woven rayon – I love rayon, it straddles the divide of man-made and natural fibres. It’s perfect for my climate.

View A, which I have made here, takes just 90cm of 150cm wide fabric (or 1 yard at 60 inches wide) so it’s an absolute stash buster. View B takes slightly more 1.3m of 150cm wide fabric (or 1 3/8 yard at 60 inches wide).

These are easy, easy tops to make. If you are looking for a nice woven top pattern with a difference – then this might be an option. I also suspect it is a great option for fabric busting all those smaller pieces from bigger projects.

The armholes and neckline are finished with bias binding. I confess I do struggle to get my bias binding as neat as I would like – but it’s a challenge I’ll continue to embrace.

Simplicity 1589 - front view

Simplicity 1589 – front view

There are no bust darts. I suspect some may find the fabric in this top falls like a waterfall… I wouldn’t know and I don’t speak for FBA department of the sewing community – but if you have knowledge/advice to share, please comment below for others. What I can say is that it works for me. The side panels and back also cover up most bra straps which is a nice feature.

Due to the lack of bust darts I personally think a fabric with some drape will work best – otherwise it may be a little tentlike.

I made a size 4 – this top has A LOT of ease. About 5 inches of ease at the bust – which I just think is too much, even for a loose fitting top. If I had made this according to the sizing chart, I would have made size 8 – which would have been two more inches of ease than this one on me. I like the fit of this. The armholes are comfortable and the back sits nicely.

Simplicity 1589 - back view

Simplicity 1589 – back view

If you get stuck with what size to make, check the finished bust measurements at the bottom of the envelope back – put a tape measure around you and figure out how much ease seems reasonable. I do this with almost every make. This top isn’t meant to be tight or close fitting but I don’t think you need to swim in fabric either.

I also think this would be a nice pattern for teenagers. It is loose but has cute details that I think would appeal to many young girls I know. My daughters are too slight for this pattern at the moment although I think many of their friends would love it.

I absolutely struggled with my stitching with this make… the tension was all over the place and I could not for the life of me figure out why. It was funny that it happened on this make as it was supposed to be ‘easy’! As it turned out, a drunk monkey (or a small daughter) had fiddled with my machine tension at some point – it didn’t occur to me to check the tension dial because I hadn’t touched it. I thought it was a bobbin case screw issue which has happened once before. Oh well. At least I know not to make the assumption that no one else touches my machines 🙂

Once I found the source of my stitching woes, I unpicked the topstitching at the armholes and neckline then restitched the topstitching. It was too late for the back neck and side panels… thankfully the tension issues only shows on the inside – and it’s not that bad (suck it up Princess Lizzy).

Simplicity 1589 - side view

Simplicity 1589 – side view

I briefly considered throwing this out or not blogging it for a bunch of reasons… but it’s escaped the charity bag and made it to the blog.

To hell with imperfection.

Pattern: Simplicity 1589
Fabric: Rayon from Spotlight. I picked some more up at the 40% sale the other day to make a little dress for my youngest daughter.
Skirt: Target – I found this in the kids sale section for $10. It’s a bit ‘out there’ but I love it – I have a weakness for anything denim, especially skirts. It looks fab dressed up with a white shirt and heels. Plus I think it would be fun to copy the spray paint concept on a future make.

Sewaholic Hollyburn – nice but not ‘me’

The Sewaholic Hollyburn was of those patterns I had always been curious to see what all the fuss was about. So when I received a copy from Stitch 56 it seemed the perfect choice for a navy linen midi skirt I had in my head.

Sewaholic Hollyburn

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a red striped Tessuti Mandy Boat Tee (free pattern, unblogged) and a blue glass beads from Arthouse Industries (mine)

Then I lost the pattern in my sewing room for months… when it eventually resurfaced I made it up.

The pattern is lovely, easy to sew and you get a nice result. It’s got pockets – which some people seem to go barmy about. I’m a bit weird about a few things… and one is that I don’t put things in pockets if it distorts the line of the garment – that’s what a handbag is for. These sorts of pockets are just for hands in my life.

I decided to line the skirt as linen is notorious for creasing and lining does help alleviate that to a degree. I would share a picture of the immaculate insides… however I just can’t find the skirt. It’s as if the Hollyburn doesn’t want to be part of my life!

I cut a size 0 with the longest possible length.

It’s a well made skirt and I’m pleased with the finish.

Unfortunately I don’t think the midi length is for me. The skirt is lovely but like a few other 2014 makes just don’t feel like me. As you can see I tried a number of tops and accessories – and still struggle with how to wear it and feel like myself. I guess the upside of sewing things that don’t feel quite right is that you learn now about what you do like!

The photos were taken late in the afternoon so the light was bad – with the exception of the first one below, which was taken several weeks earlier – then I spent a while trying to figure out how I might wear it. I think most simply it’s just not me, I feel like I should be drinking cups of tea and eating scones, I’m convinced my mother would love it. It doesn’t fit into my work or casual wardrobe.

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a floral shirt

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a floral shirt

Sewaholic Hollyburn

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a red striped Tessuti Mandy Boat tee and an Arthouse Industries necklace. Probably prefer this look the most. It’s timeless.

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a white tank and a scarf

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a RTW white tank and a scarf (Just Jeans). The ill-fitting RTW tank top has been ditched. Quite like this combo – the scarf works well.

Sewaholic Hollyburn with Maria Denmark day-to-night tank

Sewaholic Hollyburn with Maria Denmark day-to-night tank

Sewaholic Holllyburn with RTW white shirt.

Sewaholic Holllyburn with RTW white shirt.

I made this months ago – all the way back in September. I just didn’t feel particularly inspired about it. So other makes overtook it in the blogging queue. My workload in the final months of the year is always excessive and ‘life’ stuff has been less than great, so the urge to write all but disappears some days. Anyway all things, good and bad, come to an end eventually.

If I seem quiet here, you can usually find me on instagram – where I’m posting WIPs, project ideas, what I’m wearing some days and other ‘stuff’.

This pattern has been very popular – you only need to google it to see just how many times it has been made. It has had rave reviews. It reminds me of my McCalls shirtdress experience. It’s a perfectly nice pattern, it’s been made over and over again, all over the internet. It’s just not my style. I think I prefer pencil skirts or long floaty maxi skirts – I also like yokes over waistbands. However just because it’s not for me – doesn’t mean it’s not for you.

I really struggle with skirts and dresses that are flared and have a centre seam. Is it just me or does that make the skirt move awkwardly when you walk? I find it’s more inclined to tangle between your legs – and I hate fiddling with my clothes when I’m wearing them.

Pattern: Sewaholic Hollyburn, provided by Stitch 56
Fabric: Metro linen shell, lawn lining from Spotlight.

I’ve made five tops recently. Four knit tshirts and one woven top. The weather has been horrid lately so there has been little or no opportunity to get outside and take some pictures. Hopefully the rain eases soon.

I got some lovely Christmas presents this year, including tickets to see Lior, an independent Australian musician… enjoy…

Misses, reflections, goals (not) & thank you…

Once again – if you aren’t into these posts… that’s OK, I just find them interesting to think about… so I blog them for me.


I think these two are the most obvious misses, I was not pleased when I blogged them – and time has not improved them.

McCalls 6696 - no amount of naval gazing will save this one with me.

McCalls 6696 – no amount of naval gazing will save this one with me. Just not me.


Named Patterns: Jamie Jeans. Checking out my own legs...

Named Patterns: Jamie Jeans. Just can’t like these at all.

Some things I’ve worn more than others but I don’t rate my clothes as misses if I’ve learnt something from them. Sewing for me isn’t always about ‘the wearing’, a significant part is about purely creativity, experimentation and escapism.

You can see all my makes on the Made-by-me 2014 page which I’ve just created.


Professionally, I’ve worked relentlessly this year and I’m exhausted. I’d love to say in 2015 I’ll find a better ‘life-work balance’ but I believe there is no such thing.

I’ve actually edited the heck out of this post and decided not to say much ‘personal’ at all. It’s not for here.


I’ve decided I’m not really a sewing goal type. I prefer to listen to my squirrels as that’s where the inspiration lies.

There are some things I’d like to sew but if I don’t, I don’t. That’s ok.

I’d like to sew a proper tutu for my daughter. Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t.

I’d like to try swimwear. Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t.

I’d like to find the time to exercise again – I started out the year fit & strong… and along the way work and life consumed me. I want to be back there again, I miss my figure, my strength and my legs (vain but true – I’m ok with that too). Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t.

I’m not going to chain myself to any goals or beat myself up about them if other stuff comes along. It doesn’t matter. That’s life. I don’t think the future of humanity depends on it. That’s ok.

Merry Christmas & a happy and safe New Year to you and yours.

Thank you to the amazing people in my life and the fabulous people that have come into my life via this blog.


More obsessive sewing.

I did mentioned I had made another Grainline Alder and here it is. I’ve worn my first Alder so much that a second one seemed sensible. If it works for you – sew it I say! I’ve worn by McCalls 6696 just once, it’s lovely but I feel at home in my Alders.

I’ve sewn View A again, this time in a border print (or more like dip-dyed, marbled) rayon woven fabric.

Another Alder, more beach and whippet photos... a typical Lizzy weekend.

Another Alder, more beach and whippet photos… a typical Lizzy weekend. I love this beach, it’s not too busy. Lots of space of a whippet to run,

The sewing

As the graduation in colour ran from selvedge to selvedge, I cut the Alder on the crossgrain. I also didn’t have quite enough so I shaved about 1 inch off the side seams. It was frugal cutting at it’s very best and I had the tiniest pile of scraps you can imagine when I finished… and I was very conscious not to make a mistake as there was nothing left to cut another piece – not even a pocket piece!

Grainline Alder, view A. Side view

Grainline Alder, view A. Side view

Pockets: I moved the pockets up about 1/2 inch. I think they could move up more next time.

Hem: I hemmed it. I wasn’t pleased with my finish. So I hemmed it again. Then I took some photos and thought it was slightly too long. So I cut off the hem, slightly increased the curve at the side and re-hemmed it.

Grainline Alder, view A - wide view. The hem is even - it's just windy (as usual) and I like to leave the bottom button undone as the dress moves better as you walk.

Grainline Alder, view A – wide view. The hem is even – it’s just windy (as usual) and I like to leave the bottom button undone as the dress moves better as you walk.

Buttons: I got some lovely buttons that were a perfect match. I made the buttonholes… started sewing on my buttons… decided the buttons were slightly too large. Fortunately I had not cut the buttonholes! I found more buttons, unpicked the buttonholes and re-did the buttonholes. I want to unpick the buttonhole on the collar (which I haven’t cut fortunately) as it is slightly too low.

Grainline Alder, view A. Back view

Grainline Alder, view A. Back view

The Fabric: this is a marbled, graduated rayon fabric from The Fabric Shop in Robina. It’s just a hop, skip & a jump off the freeway on the way to Brisbane. It’s got parking out the front, a refreshing change from Brisbane which can be a parking nightmare, especially around The Fabric Store in Fortitude Valley!

Despite vowing not to add to my fabric ‘library’ on this trip, I succumbed to some blue fabrics – which seemed to be in plentiful supply in this shop! There were lovely piques, sateens, embroidered cottons, Japanese fabrics and a range of fabrics that Maria (the owner) imports from Madrid. I loved the white cotton broderies – which I’m still wondering why I didn’t buy as they would make gorgeous summer tops… then I look at the size of my fabric ‘library’ and remember why that’s a good thing!

This fabric was the end of the bolt (I think it was about 1.5m) and Maria slipped it into my bag when I bought the two fabrics below… clearly I have a thing for blues – thank you Maria. The Fabric Shop does have similar fabrics to this one – I just got the last sliver of this one – sorry!

A cotton pique and an imported embroider cotton eyelet

A cotton pique and an imported embroider cotton eyelet

Pattern: Grainline Alder, view A. Purchased by me.
Fabric: An ‘end of the bolt’ piece, woven rayon from The Fabric Shop.

I’m on a Grainline binge at the moment. I’ve also just made the Hemlock tee (the free Grainline pattern) with some striped cotton knit from The Fabric Store, Brisbane.


The following photos are for those who love to see Banjo on the blog.

There are quite a few whippets in Port Macquarie now. None of them seem to love the water quite like Banjo does. He will spend more time swimming than running if the family are in the water and he attracts a lot of attention as whippets are not famed for their love of swimming… although no one has told Banjo that…

Yes, my whippet even enjoys body surfing!

Yes, my whippet even enjoys body surfing!

I love this shot, he's such a happy handsome hound

I love this shot, he’s such a happy handsome hound.

Banjo - my favourite water rat.

Banjo – my favourite water rat.