Thank goodness I am on holidays for a month at the end of this week, I am dead on my feet from exhaustion!

I have been super busy making/knitting things but need to take some pictures and finish some projects off in the next couple of days. I’m working on two skirts – one of which is my next Abakahan Fabrics 15 Pound Aussie project. The other I’m hoping to wear to the meet-up. How fabulous does this day out in London sound?? Thank you Rachel of House of Pinheiro who has done all the organising – can’t wait to meet you!

The gorgeous Rachel of House of Pinheiro

The gorgeous Rachel of House of Pinheiro (IRL I probably only come up to her kneecap)


Like all truly hopeless marathon runners, I hit the wall of exhaustion hard after the Tessuti competition.


TESSUTI GRIDLOCK – sleeves rolled back.

I thought it was a pretty neat entry. Thought out, well executed, highly wearable and stood out from the crowd, an imaginative use of the fabric. The photos were well styled and the backdrop was awesome! Unfortunately Tessuti did not agree – or at least not in a winning or honorable mention kinda way. The winner was an outstanding creation and they also decided to award five runners-ups with $100 Tessuti vouchers. And no, I didn’t make that short list either. They are all great projects, there were some in particular I really liked right from when they were posted.

I never ‘expect’ to win these comps. I’m fairly uncompromising person at times, I make something I will wear and suits the fabric – that’s not going to win me accolades – but I’d rather be ‘me’ and someone else’s version of ‘me’. At some point in our lives we all get caught up in being the someone other people want us to be or think that we are, I’m past being that person. I simply am who I am. Take me or leave me. I’ve never been a fan of reptiles of any shape or size – so my chameleon qualities are non-existent. My conclusion was that either:-

  1. my stitching is not up to scratch; or/and
  2. my fitting is not top-notch; or/and
  3. my style is not ‘Tessuti Style’; or…
  4. it actually doesnt mean much at all…

I admit, I felt quite despondent about entire process. It was one of those ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ moments. The feeling you get when you know it doesn’t matter what the dumper says to the dumpee, it’s simply a sugar-coated version of the truth.

Then I came back and read all the comments on this post, read the comments on the Tessuti post, the Twitter feedback and realised that to humble old me it’s your opinion that counts more. I might not be a stitcher to attract Tessuti applause but you gave me a standing ovation.

Thank you.

I’m annoyed with myself for being distracted by the Tessuti project and thinking about the outcomes and what that meant about me, my style, my ability. It took me a few days to realise it meant precisely nothing. I’m just me and I’m happy with that. $1K would have been nice or just a pat on the back – but you gave me truckloads of encouragement and admiration. That’s more than enough for me. I sew & blog because it makes me happy. That’s all.

My disappointment is no criticism of the Tessuti winners, the judges or anything else. It’s simply an interesting reflection about me & the process. And I’m tired, very very tired and that never helps.

It even manged to stop me stitching (it can and does happen LOL) while I gazed at my bellybutton in long sorrowful moments of self reflection & doubt. So much so that I lost faith that I could make my pink jacket. Stupid I know.

Burda 03/2013 jacket

Burda 03/2013 jacket. A pretty wool blend.

I have these wonderfully perfect buttons from Buttonmania in Melbourne – thanks to the ever-wonderful Rachel of My Messings. I could finish the jacket before I leave but I would botch the finish. And that’s not worth it. So it shall now wait for my return. I feel really bad about as Rachel made a huge effort to get them to me on time. Thank you Rachel you are fabulous.

I had a go at making my own buttons, they were horrendous. The fabric was thick and frayed awfully. I wish I’d taken a picture of my efforts but I tossed them aside in disgust and outrage! This buttons are perfection. You need buttons? Check out Buttonmania in Melbourne, Australia. Go on spoil yourself. I know you want to.

Perfection: Buttons from Buttonmania

Perfection: Buttons from Buttonmania

Me? I’ve gotta go. Sew & pack for London, Paris & Madrid. Yes, sucks to be me.

Thanks for hanging around with me and putting up with my random rumblings and sewing creations.

Love Lizzy. 🙂


Footnote: You know this post always bothered me a bit and I’ve frequently thought about taking it down. I think people misread it. I genuinely like Tessuti, I’m a customer and I actually didn’t mind not winning. At all. I know the winning entry would have been impeccable. I know people who know and highly respect the sewist (sorry just can’t type sewer when I talk about someone) and her & her skills are held in very high regard.
I guess the point I was making was simply I didn’t understand the criteria and I had no idea how to improve if I was to sew in a competitive sense. The more I sew and blog the more I’m not bothered by these things. I think Tessuti have more than a right to run their competitions however they like. I work in a highly regulated environment and initially struggled with anything that wasn’t strictly governed, had guidelines and so on. These days I kinda like that. I don’t mind how designers or fabric shops run their business – it’s none of my business. I’m happy to support them. In fact I love Tessuti and frequently buy fabric there.

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 🙂


I made a hoodie…

Vogue 8854 hoodie - mysterious

Vogue 8854 hoodie – for a ‘nice’ girl

I can’t be a bad-ass cos it’s a Vogue hoodie. Yes the hoodie for ‘nice’ girls… from the latest season release from Vogue.

I used a Marc Jacobs knit that I picked up in Sydney’s Surrey Hills The Fabric Store last month. It’s divine. Soft and cuddly. Navy on one side and royal blue on the other. And a screaming bargain at just $8 a metre. Yes, yes I know you are really jealous now… I only needed 1.6m for this top!  I got the pattern for about $7 (including postage in a major indulgence haul from BMV).

Vogue 8854 hoodie - neck closed with toggle

Vogue 8854 hoodie – neck closed with toggle

Rachel of MyMessings in Twitter suggested making it fully reversible with flat fell seams… completely awesome idea… I eventually came to the conclusion the fabric would be a little thick (the fabric! not me thank you very much!). Good decision. I snapped two needles making this hoodie (or maybe it’s more of a bad ass hoodie than I thought).

My biggest dilemma was whether navy should be on the outside or inside. I know! Decisions!! I nearly put navy on the outside. However I have quite a few dark jeans and felt the royal blue was more versatile… and sometimes a huge chunk of shapeless navy or black just looks… well… shapeless.

This is absolutely nothing fancy (except the dead posh fabric of course) about this. I love the contrast colour that you see inside the lower back hem, hood and neck facing.

Vogue 8854 hoodie - back view

Vogue 8854 hoodie – back view

I found the hem went a little wavy/wonky but I’m not too concerned. I think it will settle down with some wash & wear. Again I think the weight of the fabric is an issue here… but it’s so snuggly all is forgiven. Despite being quite thick fabric, it’s very soft and drapey.

It’s extremely comfortable, easy to wear and I think will be a casual winter favourite. It’s not fancy wear but hey, everyone needs a little ‘slouch’ in their life right?

Vogue 8854 hoodie - hood up

Vogue 8854 – hood up

  • I turned under the inside edges of the neck facings. They just looked untidy unfinished or overlocked.
  • I flipped over the fabric to get a contrast on my neck facing when the toggle is undone. I thought from the look of the pattern only one facing would be revealed. Doh! Not true (although I could be a little neater in my styling – this was a slap on the nearest jeans/footwear and run into the backyard photo shoot). I don’t mind it so much as I figure it’s going to be done up most of the time. Note to self: stop trying to be tricky.

    Vogue hoodie - all the guts - no glory

    Vogue hoodie – all the guts – no glory. Still need to tidy up the end of the neck/hood seam. It was tough to sew through the thickness of the fabric neatly.

  • I used a wooden toggle instead of a button – a suggestion from ELH.
  • I omitted the snaps which are to hold the flap down more firmly. I just think they would look messy with the neck open.
  • I used a twin needle on the hem and cuffs. Yeah I know, dead fancy for a hoodie right?
  • I set the sleeves in flat because… well it’s just so much easier! There is no gathering in the sleeves. I attached the sleeves and then sewed up the sleeve and side seams in one go. Why make life hard for yourself?
  • I love this fabric and I like the cuffs turned back so the contrast inner shows. I haven’t stitched these back as I want the length for the colder winter days. Yes, tragically I live somewhere where winter isn’t really that cold and this will probably be quite snug most days…

    Vogue hoodie - neck open

    Vogue hoodie – neck open.

  • I hand-stitched the outside bottom of the neck opening down, rather than edge stitching along the bottom edge as the pattern says. I found the edge stitching was very obvious due to the thickness of the fabric. It created a giant puffy indentation. Not so fancy. I also stitched a little further up the bottom of the opening as I did not want to put little press studs to close the opening. I just thought it would look messy when the toggle was undone.

I figure if I get sick of the ‘bum flap’ as I have nicknamed it, I can always shorten it a little.

Next time I am fortunate enough to make it to The Fabric Store, I am going to pick up some lightweight Metalicus wool fabric, or NZ merino knit. I think this would make a gorgeous t-shirt weight top. Almost like a tunic… I suspect this is the sort of fabric Vogue have used in their top.

Good news? I’ve got the same fabric coming my way at Christmas courtesy of my mother-in-law. 🙂 this time it’s soft pink and fawn… not sure if it’s another hoodie or a jacket… I’ll have to wait ’til it talks to me…

Random interesting facts about hoodies: Madalynne recently posted about hoodies and a little about their origins.


Whole Wheat Cardigan

Whole Wheat Progress, the back

I’m knitting a cardigan… I think… I had a major brain explosion and couldn’t nut out the pattern. When I woke up one morning this week and went ‘Doh! You IDIOT’ (and that was being nice to myself – I can knit I’m just not very good at it – and of course I’ve chosen a pattern with lace and cables… see My Messings… I’ve been in love with this pattern ever September she posted it as a consideration in her knitting adventures… she went on to knit Miette.. and has now started Whole Wheat by Alexandra Charlotte Dafoe (you can pick up the pattern for $7 on Ravelry – where I am SewBusyLizzy if you wanna be friends) … I decided I could not live without it anymore either.Now I have figured out the pattern I don’t know what my problem was…. other than being ridiculously tired of course…

Funny… I can sew a dress with boning, lining and underlining but knitting is hard!

Final picture – taken by Miss 9 at bedtime on the iPhone…

Hoodie shot by Miss 9

Hoodie shot by Miss 9

Now I have to go and cut out a corporate jacket for Miss 9 who is starring as the corporate b*&^% who tries to outsource the elves work at Santa’s workshop. Cheery Christmas stuff…