Thursday, March 29, 2012

OWOP Day 5

Last year I made a perfectly fine skirt, which became my Favourite Skirt. It was black cotton sateen with white crocheted doileys printed on it. It was a billion kinds of awesome - looked good, fit well, made me coffee in the morning. It was so awesome that I sent the leftover fabric to Curlypops who made her own Skirt of Awesome with it.

Then when I came back from New York etc in November last year, I realised that I'd lost my skirt. Last time I'd seen it I'd worn it to work the week before I left for my holiday. I turned my house upside down trying to find it. It was lost. I was convinced someone had stolen it from my clothesline, and why wouldn't they? It was an Awesome Skirt.

I mourned that skirt every day I didn't get to wear it to work.

Four months later I unlocked my bike locker at work to find my toothpaste after a particularly garlicky lunch, and there was my skirt. And my petticoat, tights and lovely black double-strap mary jane shoes. Which I didn't even know I'd lost.

OWOP Day 5

So that's a long story to say "I lost my awesome skirt, but I found it again, and today I got to wear it for the first time since October". We had heavy fog this morning. And it was cold enough for me to regret the bare legs, but the day ended up very warm by lunchtime.

But this post is supposed to be about the Simplicity 2938 top made in chocolate brown cotton voile. I'm wearing it with my fourth favourite cardigan from Lane Bryant which is far too big for me. I'd never paired this brown 2938 with black before, but I think I like it.

While I think about which Simplicity 2938 to pull out of the wardrobe for tomorrow I have a unenviable choice to make.

Black necklaces

Which Necklace of Amazingness is the best choice for a blacktie smackdown on Saturday?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

OWOP Day 4, or what I wore to make a nice doctor laugh

This morning we had a late start thanks to what I hoped was going to be my last ever* surgeon's appointment since all the drama of 10 months ago. I knew the surgeon would need easy access to check on my ginormous abdominal scar, so I wore a top and skirt rather than a dress.

This is actually the first Simplicity 2938 I made, right in the middle of Self Stitched September last year. I am rather fond of it - it's fun and it goes surprisingly well with my third favourite cardigan.

OWOP Day 4

It was raining heavily this morning, so no outdoor shots. Instead we chose my half-painted kitchen. I need to put a second coat on those doors and find some appropriate door handles.

The first coat of paint was done in October.

October 2010.

OWOP Day 4

I generally avoid all housework before midnight, but I had to break up all that red with some pine-o-clean green.

And guess what?

Simplicity 2447

I just have to handstitch the hem, and we're right for washing, pressing and horrifying my mother-in-law when she arrives on Friday. Because OMG! It's not a floor-length ball gown!

* Unfortunately it's not my last visit. My surgeon wants to "close the loop" with more scans and blood tests, but come June I'm hoping she'll be apples and I'll get the final clearance (although I may need more surgery on my scar, but that's my choice). Oh I have plans for that happy day, when it comes! In the meantime I'll just continue enjoying every day.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

OWOP Day 3

Another Simplicity 2938, and another cardigan. I personally can't wait for daylight savings to finish this weekend so it's not sunrise when we leave for work in the morning.

OWOP day 3

I got home from work this afternoon and got straight to work on my cocktail dress. I basted a sleeve in and then tried it on to see how it fit.

Simplicity 2247

I'm definitely not a genius. I didn't think to factor in the heavy weight of the fabric (this stuff is the equivalent of rugby knit in terms of thickness and weight) and now the sleeve and shoulder is hanging down past my natural sleeve line. I also seem to have no ability in easing a sleeve in. Yuck.

I am so tempted to put an armhole facing in and call it sleeveless, but I think I have enough sleeveless dresses in my wardrobe as it is.

So it's back the drawing board. First steps will be to take out some of the armscye, raise the shoulders and the shoulder facings (so much for having sewn those in!) and take in the sides of the bodice.

I'm was hopeful I could finish tonight. Perhaps I should order takeaway instead of cooking dinner, and keep working.

Monday, March 26, 2012

OWOP Day 2

The problem with wearing an essentially summery pattern for OWOP at the end of March in Canberra?

It's bloody cold.

Sure the days are delightful with their 22 degrees of sunny warmth, but the mornings are positively frigid. I feel the cold a lot more these days (must be the old age and lack of circulation) so mornings are always a struggle to find an appropriate cardigan to wear with my summer frock and open toed sandals.

Because I am nothing if not stubborn about when the winter clothes come out (April 1st and not a moment before).

OWOP Day 2

Today's OWOP effort is the 2011 Christmas Frock, aka Simplicity 2938 with a drastic redrafting of the top, the addition of a skirt. I'd never worn this to work before, but seeing as I'm no longer wearing it to the niecewedding this Saturday, I thought I'd give it a turn.

OWOP Day 2

I paired it with my favourite cardigan. It's red, it's warm and it has bows on it. What more could a girl want?

In cocktail dress news, I shouldn't have sewn anything tonight. I stabbed my finger under the nail with a pin, I scorched some of the lace by accident, and I almost took my finger off by placing it too close to a fast moving machine needle. But I persevered, and kept right away form the overlocker, and now I have the facings sewn in and flipped. Next will be to do some hand sewing of the facing into the dress so it doesn't flip back out. I have another issue with the dress - the problem with stretch polyester-backed lace is that the seams don't iron iron flat. Not with starch, rajah cloth or sheer determination. I am faced with tacking down the seams by hand if I want the dress to sit right.

Cocktail dress - facings

I love hand sewing.

But I'm tempted to use vlisofix on this occasion and call it done.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

OWOP Day 1 (which is really Day 2, but WHATEVER)

OWOP (One Week, One Pattern) started yesterday, and I missed it.


Well I'd planned on wearing my white flowers tea dress out to our wedding anniversary dinner last night, but it was too cold. Like really, really cold. Too cold to find a warm cardigan to wear with it that would complement it, and the dress doesn't work well with tights, which is what I ended up wearing last night. Along with thermal underwear and something that was not a Simplicity 2938 variation.

So let's just start day 1 today, shall we?

OWOP Day 1

Simplicity 2938 top in cotton voile by Anna Maria Horner. I love this top. It's on heavy rotation on the weekends and it's a cinch to wash and iron.

In other news, I think I may have conquered Simplicity 2247 which I am using to make a suitable cocktail frock for a wedding being held in, oh, five-and-a-half days.


I was determined to iron out the issues with the baggy upper chest on the wearable muslin. First of all I did the bodice using a D Cup instead of DD. That made the fit around the boobage better, but I still had a big gap at the top of the bra strap. I ended up fixing most of that by taking in the underarm on the front side only.

Then it was time to attach the sleeve, pleats and all.  Disaster. I hate this sleeve so much - it reminds me of Imelda Marcos, and not in a good way like with the shoe collection or anything. And it would have been an issue with the pleats in the sleeve as the fabric for my cocktail dress is quite thick.


So I cut away some of the width from the armscye, redrafted the sleeve to take away width and the pleats, and this time gathered the sleeve to fit in the armscye.

Simplicity 2247

Much better, and more suited to my style.

Last night after dinner I felt brave enough to cut out the lacy fabric, and today I started sewing.

Simplicity 2247

By late afternoon, after lots of breaks for tea and walks in the garden, I got to this stage, without the sleeves or facing. (The facing has since been sewn in, but I haven't edge stitched it down yet.)

Simplicity 2247

I'm really pleased with it. It's a shame the lovely wine-red colour isn't obvious in these photos but I'll get better photos taken once it's finally finished. Like maybe on Saturday with my handsome husband who has hired a suit with lining the exact same colour as my dress. Phwoar!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Black tie smackdown

We have a niecewedding coming up in Bowral in a week, and I thought I had my outfit sorted. It was either going to be this:

Christmas Frock

Or the dress I wore to the brotherwedding in Brisbane last year:

Dress for Brisbane wedding

Both very fine frocks to wear to a garden wedding in Bowral on a Saturday afternoon at 3 pm, I thought. I neglected the "black tie" note on the invitation. I mean - if the family hasn't understood that in 12 years of marriage I am still going by my maiden name and why I get upset when invites get sent to some woman called Michelle with a last name I have never used, then why should I pay attention to anything that says "black tie"? it's not as if I was going to wear jeans.

Apparently my mother-in-law pays attention. Even though I told her black tie is for weddings that take place after 4.30 pm, she believes that all ladies should be in a floor length ball gown and men should be in bow ties. She also would prefer if we still believed it was 1932. I read my ettiquette websites, where they stated that dresses could also be short or long cocktail, decided to opt for a cocktail dress instead.

As for the bow tie, I've told my husband he'll be going alone if he wears one.

That conversation was on Sunday and sent me into a mad panic. As crass as I am about this black tie business, I don't actually own a cocktail dress. The brotherwedding dress is about as classy as I get, but given my job also means I have to work at some classy events, I figured if I could find a nice cocktail frock online to buy, it wouldn't be wasted.

Two online-bought dresses later, and a two hour trip to the mall one lunchtime, and I realised the only way I was going to get a decent dress that was comfortable, had nice fabric and fitted well was to bloody well sew it myself.

Simplicity 2247

Enter Simplicity 2247 - Amazing Fit. On Monday night I basted together a wearable muslin to see if the shape would suit me.

Simplicity 2247

It did suit me, but I had an annoying problem around the chest where it was too big. I may have used the wrong cup size pattern (I used DD because that's what I am, when in fact if I'd measured myself as per instructions, I would have found out I was a C in a size smaller.  Go figure.)

Simplicity 2247

I'm going to experiment with taking in the underarm seam, and the shoulder seam. Otherwise I'll recut to go down to a C cup (I think the bodice will be too short then, however).

And then I'm going to cut into this.

Simplicity 2247

Yes, tonight at Spotlight I found the perfect fabric, thanks to a friend who came with me to help out. I was getting quite depressed as all the "after 5" fabrics seemed to be spotted taffettas and boxer-short quality satins. Then she found this polyester backed lace, and in my favourite colour of deep red. It's almost the same fabric as my favourite Igigi dress which I would have bought if it had been available in my size. It has a little spandex in the fabric, so the stretch is very similar to the cotton sateen my wearable muslin is in.

Igigi dress

So this weekend I get to sew. Right in the middle of OWOP (One Week, One Pattern), with a pattern that is not my OWOP one. A little warped, but wish me luck!

P.S Yes, I did write "polyester" and "perfect" in the same paragraph.

P.P.S I seem to be sewing to a deadline. This is the first time this has happened since this declaration and I'm not too sure I'm going to be able to cope.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Linen and Gingham - executive summary

* I made another Simplicity 2938/Not Sorbetto in linen.

* I also made a red and white herringbone linen skirt. No pattern.

* My goodness I can give the Julie Bishop Death Stare a good go early in the morning, can't I?

Simplicity 2938 - in linen

* Really, I was very happy with my outfit. Happier than my face reveals.

* It's supposed to be a casual outfit for weekends but today was hot, so I thought I'd dress it up and wear it to work.

* I'm not too sure what is happening with the sides of the top. I might have to take it in and up to avoid the skirt pleats messing with the fall of it.

Simplicity 2938 - in linen

* I stitched the pleats down, just for something different to the nine (NINE!) other variations of Simplicity 2938 that I've made.

* I can confirm that I will be participating in Tilly and the Buttons' challenge.

* The challenge is called OWOP (One week, one pattern) where we wear the same pattern for 7 days from 24 March.

* Should be a complete doddle.

* I expect there are at least another two Simplicity 2938s in my immediate future.

* Mainly because they are already cut out. Since January.

* I have a vintage Skipper outfit which my Blythes wear that looks very similar to this outfit.


* My choice was not to deliberately to dress like a bubble headed doll from 1972.

* Honest.

* But yet, it happened.

Saturday, March 10, 2012



Today I held a baby shower under the elm tree for a lovely friend. It wasn't your usual baby shower. There were no ridiculous games. There was crafting. There was cake and sausage rolls and cucumber sandwiches. And handmade gifts. It was a crafternoonashower.


Thanks to some very able, and tall, helpers, there were lots of Chinese lanterns hanging in the elm tree. And the weather was perfect.


My baby present was a sunny hexagon quilt - the quilt that I started 2 weeks ago in Cobargo, which wasn't supposed to be a baby present, but it turned out it was perfect, so a baby present it is! I always knew the quilt would tell me what it should be...

Hexagon baby quilt

But it's not finished yet and I still have to quilt and bind it. Unbelievably, I haven't rushed this quilt at all. It took me a week to finish all the hexagons, and another two nights to applique it onto some background fabric. Then it sat around for another couple of nights and on Thursday night I pin basted it. On the dining room table. It worked perfectly, and I am now hooked on the idea of dining room table basting. Beats crawling around on the carpet.

Hexagon baby quilt

Speaking of hexagons, a few days ago Rita from Red Pepper Quilts posted a photo on Instagram of some hexagon blocks and said she was never going to finish the project. I offered to take them off her hands, and so she sent them to me.

Hexagon quilt UFO  from another quilter

Except what she sent me was quilt a large unfinished piece of work, not just a few blocks! And it's absolutely beautiful.

Hexagon quilt UFO  from another quilter

I can't wait to see what happens with this one. I'm having such a love affair with English paper piecing at the moment.

Because did I tell you? The twisted hexagon quilt top is finally finished ...