Tuesday, 29 April 2014


Are you a persister or desister?

Do you delightedly rise to the occasion with challenging projects or do you throw down said project in a fit of "how dare you mock me?" rage like a petulant three year old and avoid it for weeks days on end?

No? Just me?

Meet Roxanne.

This project certainly revealed the desister (I think I made up that word) in me. In fact it's probably never been in doubt. Have you ever noticed that pretty much all my me-made clothes are cotton? Generally poplin or lawn? That's because cotton behaves people, it behaves! It's the nerdy, glasses wearing, teacher's pet, always eager to please and do exactly as it's asked. I quite like that.

But chiffon? Oh, chiffon you nearly broke me. You are truly gorgeous and I fell madly, deeply and totally in love with you from the moment you peeped out at me behind all those other bolts of fabric, screaming me, me, you have to have a Roxanne made out of me!

And let's face it, you are just as pretty made up.

Look at your flowy gorgeousness. Your perfect floral print.

You and Roxanne were made for each other... but that didn't stop me giving you the stink-eye time after time muttering don't mess with me bee-atch as I steamed the hell out of you. People chiffon does not like to take a crease. But don't let those fabric recommendations fool you. 100% polyester? No problem. Feel free to turn up the heat to at least "silk" and show it some steam. Didn't melt, didn't burn and let me tell you it started to behave just a tiny bit more like that teacher's pet.

Except when it was repeatedly slithering off my sewing table as I tried valiantly to complete my gorgeous french seams. Every last one of them. There are no non-frenched seams in this garment. Oh yeah, chiffon frays. A mental amount. Yet to be touched pieces frayed on my table as they awaited their turn. I kid you not.

But isn't she pretty? Oh thank god she's so pretty. Beautifully flowy pleated back.

Roxanne is seen here in a straight size 4. This is sized for a 34 inch bust and a finished shoulder width of 14.25 inches. It's really hard to measure this on yourself. P was put in charge and seemed to get a slightly different number every time (I made him do it more than once).  But on average I sat right at 14.25 inches. You can see above that the rear sleeve seams are sitting at a fairly nice width, but I wonder if the shoulder seams couldn't be a bit wider? What do you think?

I guess I should mention that the front feels a little tight across the high bust as well. The front sleeve seams pull a little, especially when the neck ties are used. This means the front slit gapes a bit to allow extra room. I'm not a fan of that and I'll probably wear it open as a result.

I'd definitely recommend being a little generous with your shoulder width measurement when choosing your size.

I bought this pattern originally intending to make Version 2 out of this amazing silk twill. And that is still definitely the plan, probably next Spring. But version 2 does not have a front neck slit and I fear the result in this size would be too tight across the front. So just size up? Yeah I would if I hadn't been a prize idiot and actually *GASP* cut the original pattern (I bought the paper pattern not PDF).

There wouldn't happen to be a lovely Sydney-sider who possesses this pattern and has a kind enough heart to let me trace it, would there?

Recalcitrant she may have been, but all in all, I really do love Roxanne. I even bought some more fabric to make another of this version in a crepe de chine. But chiffon? Never again, my friends, never again...

So are you a persister or desister?

Wednesday, 23 April 2014


Oh yes, yes I am. I am claiming this as a finished sewn project.

I know, I know. Whaaaaaaaat???? I know you guys are sitting there thinking Seriously Jillian? This is all you got? You are so letting down the rest of us out there working our fingers to the bone to present meaty, gorgeously complicated projects. 

But seriously, it is kind of cool. A bespoke belt! I am not an accessory girl and I have had the same one belt for literally 20 odd years. It was looking a little tired. I needed a new one, and I wanted it to fit me. So I got on the leatherwork bandwagon and there you have it.
I purchased the leather already dyed and cut to this width. All I needed to do was attach a fastener/buckle, cut the belt to my desired length and punch a hole to fasten the finished product.

I used a waxed linen thread to hand sew the buckle on. Hand sewing through leather this heavy was HARD. Ouch on the hands - I resorted to using pliers to pull the needles through.

But the best part???

Check it. One hole. That my friends, was a leap of hope. Would I get it right? Yes I did.

A belt just for me, just for wearing with my low slung jeans.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014


We take a break in the production of my autumnal Roxanne to bring you.... Ta-da! Disco Peppa Pig!!!!

M's BFF's birthday party kind of crept up on me and I realised very late in the piece the directive to come dressed as your favourite character. I must admit that M wanted to go as some kind of over-the-top sparkly fairy, but seriously, there wasn't time. I was able to negotiate Peppa Pig, who M is completely obsessed with (along with every other child under the age of 5), but on the provisio that she "sparkle".

And so Disco Peppa Pig was born.

Compare the Pair
Peppa Pig image source

Not bad, huh?

Now you know that attention to detail is the disease of the modern sewist when you strongly consider Frenching the seams on your child's dress up costume. I did manage to fight the urge, but I have to admit to fully lining the dress with bemsilk. I defend that move however as the outer fabric, a very sequinny stretch dance fabric, was in fact a little transparent. Peppa has her modesty you know.

I also whipped up some ears and a snout!

The ears are a little more bovine than the Peppa of cartoon fame, and are glued to a pink headband and then hand-stitched (no less) around the edges. The snout was easy to make, but was not a complete success - it kind of smooshed up when worn with the elastic band over the head and M was more inclined to tote it like a handbag. That's my girl.

All in all a complete success. Oh and the fairy outfit has been promised for M's birthday party in a few weeks. Don't tell anyone, but it may be a bought one this time...

Monday, 7 April 2014

WIPS and Wine

Oh wow, it has been a while. These last few weeks have been shite challenging to say the least. Let's  be honest, there has been no really serious handcrafting going on here.

Between man flu laying the husband low, then me, then my 3 year old having to undergo a baby tooth "root canal" (please, can we not debate whether or not baby teeth have roots?), then me falling prey to what the doc has called a repeated viral attack (sounds gnarly right? IT WAS!), Casa Sew Jillian has been a pretty miserable old place.

But hooray we appear to be out the other end!

And this weekend was pretty special. P and I enjoyed our first night away alone in nearly 4 years! That's insane! The 4 years bit I mean.

And said weekend involved copious amounts of wonderful elixir of the Gods, Hunter Valley style. Oh Hunter Valley, how I've missed you, it has been a while.

We didn't know ourselves! What to do, where to start? Do I take a bath, knit for hours, visit every winery possible, watch TV uninterrupted, swing from the chandeliers (too much info?)... or gasp... sleep in? Oh the joy.

We might love our little M to bits, but good lord it was nice to have just over 24 hours to focus solely on the wonderful man I married. I kind of forgot what it's like to have an uninterrupted conversation and to snuggle without a wiggly near four year old wanting to get into the middle of the action. Bliss.

And I do have a WIP - that there up top is my current sweater progress.

Isn't she gorgeous? Lousia Harding's Fazie sweater. I do love this piece even though the yarn is doing my head in. But now that I am not sicker than the proverbial dog I have stopped making so many errors I had to rip back the lace cuff band not once or twice but four times! So progress is in fact forward.

I also have a little leatherwork of my own awaiting finishing touches. It's a bit laughable to call it a true project but I'll share anyway. Stay posted.

And I am just about to start on Victory Pattern's Roxanne. Not the summer version I had originally planned 'cause let's face it, Autumn is truly here. No it'll be a cool weather appropriate Version 1 in an awesome chiffon I picked up recently.

So lovely people, as long as the fates stay on my side and off the side of sickness, I'll see again you soon!