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.


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 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

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!


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!


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.


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

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


And a Japanese rayon knit Sewaholic Renfrew


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


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

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


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.