Tuesday, 26 November 2013


Vintage McCall's 9507, View A (sort of), dated 1968.

AKA Jillian makes another Pirate shirt.

Oh alright, it's not quite that bad, but it's not my most favourite make either. 

It does have poofy sleeves, ridiculously wide cuffs and ruffled neckline. It's pretty damning evidence of a pirate shirt.

I do worry it makes me look like a Pierrot-inspired pirate clown.

I sewed a straight Size 12 with no modifications to the sizing. I did, however, eliminate the ruffled patch pockets (they were absolutely huge!) and the ruffle at cuff. I mean really people, there is only so much ruffle one person can wear!

These are some seriously wide cuffs! I decided to add some interest by using cream thread for the buttonholes and navy/royal blue for the button thread. I like that it picks up the blue in the print, which you almost miss.

The best part about this shirt is without doubt the gorgeous fabric. It's a 100% cotton Japanese lawn that had been sitting patiently in my stash awaiting the perfect shirt. This wasn't it though...

And the print! Teeny, tiny little houses. What's not to love about that?
Meh, you win some. you lose some...

Monday, 25 November 2013

Unravelled indeed!

And this, my lovelies, is my unravelling. Bugger.

AKA I have totally dropped and unravelled some stitches!


Can I please confess to just dumping my knitting when this happened a few days ago? I simply went into a blind panic. Somehow I haven't dropped a stitch before. But in my panic I actually dropped the stitch/stitches over a few rows. I know repairing it has something to do with crochet hooks and the like, but can someone point me in the direction of a good tutorial? I'd be eternally grateful!

P.S. Yes, it's starting to look like I only knit with green yarn, but I swear it's not the case. I'm just a bit obsessed with green at the moment. I'm sure it'll pass...

Sunday, 17 November 2013


Green Cowl

My emerald green Noble Cowl (Ravelry link) by Emily Kausalik, knit in Ella Rae Bamboo Silk (70/30). Soft, silky and deliciously drapey.

I actually finished this back in August, but just never got a chance to photograph it. Today however is a wet, unseasonably cold Sunday and seemed the perfect time to get this gorgeous piece out again.  


I love the open lacework and the slouchy feel. It makes for the perfect mild weather accessory, offering a little warmth, a whole lot of style and punchy colour.

I usually wear this with my bird brooch gifted to me by some wonderful work colleagues.

Pinned Cowl

The knit is the perfect place for my little bird to nest...

Bird Brooch

Friday, 8 November 2013


You could make many wishes on the dandelions in my top.

Style A, Pattern 1, French Sleeve Tie Back Tunic, from Japanese pattern book (English translation) Sweet Dress Book: 23 Stylish Outfits from Six Simple Patterns by Yoshiko Tsukiori. Fittingly made up in a 100% cotton Japanese lawn. Pretty, light, breezy...

This top represented a few more firsts for me. Yay!

Number one, first time using a Japanese pattern book. I've always loved the styles in these books but struggled to envisage how they'd work on my body. I'm slim but also taller (167cm) than the average Japanese woman (160cm) for whom the patterns are drafted, and the general sack-like look does little to flatter me. But this top, the front cover design, caught my eye straight away and I love it! It's very me.

Number two, tracing patterns - at least for an adult. I've traced patterns for M's clothes previously as it's the only way to preserve a multi-sized pattern when your child is clearly going to grow. But for me? People, I have not changed size since I was about 18 and that's a whole 22 years ago (don't hate me, and obviously except during pregnancy). I usually just chop into those multi-sized babies and get on with things.

I also find the whole idea of having to add seam allowances perplexing. What is with that? Just add them to the damn pattern and allow us to happily get on with things. That being said, these pattern books use a few basic pattern pieces that can be added upon to create a new look and so there are times when a different seam allowance or the drafting in of a tab or fold back facing or some such is needed.

Number 3, self-made bias binding. Yes, my first time creating self-fabric bias binding! I know, I know, how did I get this far without having ever done that before? Sheer laziness and the ability to buy admittedly icky poly/cotton varieties from every fabric store imaginable.

But it was super-easy and now I want to bind everything! I even cut a whole lot extra so that I could use it in the future for other makes, especially those where the binding is applied like a facing and isn't entirely visible. Think *contrast surprise*.

Number 3, using my French Curve. I bought one a while ago to do my Craftsy Adjust the Bust course, but.... ummmmm... haven't started yet... but I will! Another of those Spring/Summer Sewing Promises, and Spring is almost over! Damn, must get on it. However, I did break it out here to re-draft the front neckline. I won't go into it, it's just one of those confusing Japanese pattern books things. But it worked beautifully, once I worked out what the hell I was supposed to do with it!

The centre back of this top is supposed to be entirely open with a tie at the neckline and another at mid back. You'd usually wear a tank underneath. It's actually the top that made me buy the book, I just thought it was an interesting feature. Then hubby saw it... Oh, just like a hospital gown? What the...??!!!!! Yes, thank you for ruining it for me so that now all I could see was that hospital gown. I altered it to be sewn up the back and the tie used as a fastener at the neck only. In the end I prefer it, as I think I would have gotten sick of layering it. Especially since this fabric is so lovely against the skin.
Pattern Changes/Alterations:
  • Traced and cut a small, grading out to a medium at the hips. I'm a regular pear-shaped girl.
  • Changed the back as above. 
  • Hemmed 1cm shorter than the pattern suggested, which surprised me given the height differential.
Lessons learned:
  • A French Curve is so very useful.
  • Don't show a beloved design to hubby. He's only going to go and say something stupid and quash your romantic dreams. Damn you P...

I really like my new top and I love it with my new yellow sandals. Win! 

Sunday, 3 November 2013


...flutter way off to the sky...

This is my version of vintage Simplicity 7155 (dated 1976). This is actually a pattern for a toddler's long "jumper" or top, and I believe is really made for layering over a t-shirt or blouse (as pictured).

Why? Because the size 3 is really large on my 3.5 year old, especially in the arm scythes, and as a result through the chest area. It is a tieback dress which cinches out some of the fullness, but it still looks way too big... Is this just another one of those damn "ease" issues? Enough of excessive ease Big 4's!

But apparently it's perfect for twirling!!!

Self-styled with pink tights
And really, that's a good enough measure of success in a 3.5 year old's mind!

This came together super quickly even though it has a zip closure and that normally slows me down. I actually machine basted the zip in place before stitching and it did make a huge difference. I inserted an invisible zip, because really folks, they are just damn easy compared to a regular or lapped zip. And check it out! Invisible!

I did have all sorts of problems attaching the yoke to the dress front and this is the only place I got slowed down. Imagine fitting a zig and a zag together (this explanation makes sense in my mind!). They don't wanna go. Remember when you are sewing together the yoke and dress front you are trying to sew two opposing angles. One peaks up and the other peaks down. Ok, this is really hard to explain in text and I forgot to take photos in my rage extreme frustration hissy fit consternation. But let's just say it didn't want to go together and I must have unpicked a zillion trillion couple of times. You can see the hash I made of it here...

What did I do wrong my lovely readers? In the end I decided the reality was this was to be a play dress and who gives a damn?

Pattern Changes/Alterations:

  • I inserted an invisible zip instead of a regular one. Life is just too short... but I will re-conquer alternate zip insertions again one day... maybe... if I can be bothered.
  • I settled on a length shorter than the dress in the pattern (ankle length), to make it more practical and play friendly.
Lessons learned:
  • When your child is being particularly heinous, chocolate works as a bribe. Judge me if you will, but you won't possibly judge me as harshly as I do myself. I swore I'd never use food as a reward. Bad Mummy...
  • Continue to accept that less than perfect makes are still perfectly acceptable. 
  • Zigs and zags do not play nicely together.

In the end this little camper is pretty happy with the result.

Butter wouldn't melt... little tyrant
Apart from twirling, it's apparently also perfect for contemplating toes...