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A present for myself – labels!

16 May

I’ve long been wanting some labels for my clothing. Partly simply to help me work out the back on some of my clothes, partly for the fun of it! I realised Megan Neilson is selling a good selection when I went there looking for fabric. Hmmm… What shall I get?

I love this coz so often people are disappointed when they realise I’ve sewn it and they can’t go buy it for $15 from KMart. It makes me feel Smug!

This is a definite must for some of my clothes. And indeed, it’s actually an aim for all of them…

Haha perhaps a few clothes ‘worth the effort’ is a good reminder. Others might just have me gritting my teeth and saying ‘NO IT WASN’T!’
It’s sold out, so probably a good thing.

There’s a ‘this is the back’ in this pack! You can buy either type separately, but I think a few of both would be good.

I found a different range on Tessuti and this was my pick from there.


And then there’s an idea I got from some op shoppers who also sew. Labels from clothes from there. I adjusted the fit on a pair of white shorts and the label had to come off. There’s no question which is the back or front on the shorts as it has a front zip, so I could totally use the label on something else. But then I saw this… Sigh. Treating people decently is not rocket science guys!

Like most of the fashion industry, there’s a blind spot in Country Road’s ethical focus

Does using an opped label of a company with questionable ethics be questionable myself? In a small way it is advertising them.

As a friend once said when I went round and round on a similar ethical question, ‘It is often uncomfortable to have a conscience.”

I haven’t solved my dilemma. And I also haven’t taken a photo of said offending or maybe not offending label, so hey…

BUT, it did take a fair while to finish this post and I present to you one of my new labels in action! What fun! And practical too 😀

The back of my new By hand London Leo overalls

Fit’n’pleat dresses part 2

22 Jan

It’s all washed and snugly folded in my stash, waiting….!

I was trying to clean up my blog a bit and found this unpublished post. So here it is! Featuring two dresses from at least 3 yrs ago, a previously unblogged follow up to Fit’n’pleat dresses are so easy to wear

I worked out a fitted bodice block a while back. Mostly by making something (forgotten what), fitting it nicely, then transferring the changes back onto the bodice pattern.

Wow! It makes it so easy to fit things, especially simple bodices. Not so helpful for princess lines, but usually I don’t find fitting them too difficult.  Anyway these dresses are made with that bodice block. Happily it still fits me fairly well in early 2022!

This is the same frankenskirt pattern as the grey one in the fit,n,pleat post.  The gloriously patterned fabric is from the Spotlight stretch cotton sateen range. It, like all things I’ve made from that fabric, stretched out and became too big and sack-like long before the cotton content of the fabric wore out. It’s so depressing, espeically when I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THE PRINT, paid a decent amount and have put a lot of effort into making something, that I’ve subsequently stopped buying it, no matter how desperately tempting the absolutely gorgeous patterns this fabric has. (*cries*)

So, sadly, that was the life-cycle of these dresses, including the original grey one 😦


The shoes were $10 from China through Aliexpress. In the monsoons and heavy rains of the wet season it’s better to wear plastic shoes than my usual (expensive, high quality!) leather ones. This is one of the cheapy plastic ones that can dry out to be just fine after a dunking. They looked fantastic with the dress!

My beautiful (Expensive, high quality ;-D) gorgeous red clogs also worked beautifully with it! I can tell from the background this picture was taken at one of my favourite cafes. And here is one taken with our gorgeous old dog who is sadly no longer with us ❤ ❤ <3dav

The next dress I made was this pink rose dress. I know, there’s a theme emerging, isn’t there?! It was of the same stretch cotton sateen. This one had a pretty sweetheart neckline, which is really my favourite of all neckline shapes. It stretched out a bit across the curve because I didn’t stabilise it properly for the stretch 😦

But as my mum would say, no one would notice unless I point it out, right? 😀


I used the cap sleeve I got from a pattern so long ago I’ve forgotten what it was. But oh such a useful pattern!
The placement of the darts is so dependent on the bra I’m wearing underneath, it’s just hard to get ‘right’. Especially as I have ‘Proper underwire bras’, sports bras, ‘Proper Soft Cup Bras’ and Secret Pyjama bras each with a different profile. Not to mention there’s monthly changes, which usually are fairly significant. Then there’s bra age. So hey… The darts end up where the darts end up!


This dress went the way of the other two – it stretched out but I didn’t. So within 2 wears I was swimming in it, and looked … Um… a lot of not very nice, very fat-shamy words come to mind, which isn’t fair to me or anyone to use, so let’s just say, given the fabric itself was just fine, it went to an op shop to hopefully be found by someone they now fit beautifully!

This perhaps seems like a sad post due to the fabrics stretching out so quickly. However there is a fantastic post script. I’ve been in love with the Outback Wife fabrics since I first saw them. I wanted this one in particular (Hmmm,,, I wonder why?!) And searched the internet high and low for it. Nope. It was clearly Not Meant To Be.


I walked into our local quilt fabric shop dragonflyfabrics with mum (Who’s a mad keen quilter) and almost fell over a bolt of this fabric. Oh. My. God!!!! That’s the exact Outback Wife fabric I love the most!

Outback Wife Bindi Red

The latest sewing assessment

23 Nov

I’m posting this mostly for myself for reference. It’s a very long post, you’re welcome to read it though!

Last year I did a comprehensive sewing assessment which helped enormously. Although… *grins* yeah um riiiight before a pandemic blew up!

However we have been SO LUCKY in the NT and Darwin, that I haven’t had much of a lockdown lifestyle. I just haven’t been able to fly anywhere. No family visits ow ow ow! Technically I could have gone anywhere in Australia but my health, especially my mental health wouldn’t cope if I got caught up in a quarantine scenario.
So apart from no cold weather travel sewing, my sewing and wardrobe have been rocking along normally.

Last year’s sewing audit definitely made a few things clearer. Namely there’s a disconnect between what fabric I like to buy, what I like to sew, and what I like to wear. Happily I’ve been having fun all these years anyway!

Fabric I like to buy –

  • Pretty bright florals in pretty much any natural fibre, usually on sale from Spotlight. Like this!
Shop Utility Fabric & Material Online

Patterns I like to sew –

  • Vintage and historical patterns like this elegant nightgown or day dress!
Pin on revistas vintage señora
1950s fashion – The Vintage Fashion Librarian
  • Granny style nighties with yokes and trimming and full skirts in wovens.
  • I like drafting-lite. I have blocks that fit me nicely that I can adapt, or use to adapt a pattern I already have I often use TNT patterns as a ‘block’ for drafting-lite.often using a diagram off Pinterest. This was my faves. I was like ‘Hmmm how does that work?’ And… I made a top out of it!!! WOW!!!

  • I enjoy adapting all sorts of patterns to my tropical climate.
  • TNT patterns, coz zometimes I just want to slap a pattern on pretty fabric, cut it out then sew it.

What I actually like to wear –

  • Fabric in plain colours or patterns that are textural more than pictures. (Except floral. I LOVE florals. But I don’t particularly want to wear florals most of the time. I just want to enjoy floral patterns. And real flowers!) and linen. I needs me this jumpsuit, but in linen! Complete with new pointe shoes actually as my current ones are dead.

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  • Cotton is the staple given it’s breathability and availability, but my favourite cottons tend to have an interesting texture.
  • Rayons are ok but can be a bit clingy which can get hot. But their floatiness is divine.
  • Also there’s a bit of a recycling issue here. Straight cotton is easier to recycle than mixed fibres are. I know fibre recycling is in its infancy but hey, I’m trying here, argh!
  • I DON’T like synthetics.
  • I also refuse to buy any more stretch cotton poplins. No matter how divinely appealing their prints the lycra deteriorates and the clothing stretches out long before I’m ready to say goodbye to it. It pretty much gains a size, which then looks loose and depressing on me. so, with a heavy heart I have been extremely careful to avoid stretch wovens. It’s very hard. The struggle is real guys!

(I’m making this dress out of rayon one day ok?!)

Style –

I discovered my favourite way of dressing is a Thing! Historybounding. Such fun! Taking a retro or historical style and adapting it to a more modern (and in my case cool) aesthetic. I love it!

Issues –

  • Basic! ie underclothes and exercise gear – I need them. I don’t like sewing them, but it’s been hard finding what I need in op shops, or rtw I can afford. And all this within as environmentally and socially responsible way.
  • Covid… I’m hanging out at home more, I’ve done no travelling in 2 yrs.
  • I’ve been writing that book I planned to do by age 50. Sitting at a desk, I tend to prefer light dresses. Sitting at a desk in trousers/shorts just isn’t my thing.

What I did about it –

  • Went and bought some new rtw basics. A friend put me on to this company, which makes clothes that allow for bigger glutes, basically. That’s me! Horse-riding and ballet, give you big glutes, and thighs.
  • I’ve also worked out if I get long trousers from an op shop that fits in the hip and waist, I can cut them to 3/4 length, and use the cut offs to create a gusset sort of affair that isn’t really seen but add extra space for my glutes, making them much more comfortable. Not as good as if I had sewn it, but hey, it’s something, right?
  • I sourced some decent undies, rather than buying easy to find ones and adjusting the fit.

And then…

  • I focussed more on the kind of fabric I like to wear AND sew – linens in beautiful colours, slithery rayons, soft textural patterns in colours that made me drool over them.
  • I paid a bit more to know the provenance of the fabric. Eg or some Etsy sellers. The idea of course was to buy less fabric, but of a higher quality and clearer provenance. But I think I just bought as much fabric as I always do, just the more expensive kind. Ah well…
  • I did try to buying some deadstock sheets to use for clothing, but, ahhh, they ended up on my bed instead. Buttery soft. Mmmm!!!! Best $40 cotton sheets you ever met!

Anyway so here is the latest sewing assessment

Top Three Items That I Wear For Home: Floofy dresses. Pinafores with sports bra underneat. Fitted top and shorts. Tunic and shorts.
Top Three Items That I Wear For Work:
Ballet teaching: pilates trousers and close-fitting top. Occasionally going all out with the leos, tights and pretty skirt.
Writing etc: floofy dresses again!
Top 3 items for exercise:
Pilates/bike riding: Leggings, t-shirt, soft bra. I often just chuck on some leggings under the dress I was wearing that day for bike riding.
Ballet (when I am doing class, not teaching): leo, skirt, tights, sturdy bra
Horseriding: socks, boots, jodhpurs, UPF 50+ shirt, t-shirt if under cover, sports bras x 2. My akubra my family bought me for christmas
Top Three Sewing Talents (go on, show off!):
Making unusual styles of garment. Like my Anne of Green Gables dress, which always gets compliments every time I wear it.
I’m not afraid of experimenting. I’m saying this because a lot of people seem frightened or hesitant to just get in there and try something unfamiliar.
I have a wide range of sewing skills – basically I’ve been well taught. Thanks mum!
Top Three Sewing Weak Spots (ouch!):
Terrible at finishing projects. It’s just those last few steps. They take me forever to get in there and finish them.
Messy. That annoys me. I prefer a more tidy work environment. (That’s a whole nother post in itself!)
Doing too many projects at once, I can feel overwhelmed. A friend did suggest I stick to only 3 things to sew at one time. It does help with the overwhelm – if I can manage to stick to it.
Top 3 weather oriented styles
dry season: whatever I feel like coz it’s cool enough! when cold, my snuggly merino cardy. Skirts and tops, trousers and tops.
Build up: floofy, nothing touching my body. I prefer Lagenlook rather than nightie look! Empire line is a perrenial fave. Higher necklines for sun protection
Wet season: shorter clothes so I can splash in puddles and not get a wet hem eg shorts rather than trousers, shorter dresses and skirts. Loose is still good due to the high humidity but full floof is heavy when wet. And just as the name of the season implies, it’s impossible to not get wet. For me, anyway.
Top Three Sewing Goals:
1) Not buy any new fabrics for the last half of 2021. Well, you see, I got a new dog, adopting was very expensive, and I reeeelly don’t need more fabric at the moment, right? Right! er, uh, yeah. Right?
2) work on being a bit tidier with my sewing. Including just doing less projects at once
3) Not sewing – crochet! Finish off mum’s crochet blanket.
Top Three People Who Enable Me: Mum, Spotlight sales assistants (!) A
Top Three People I Enable: , mum, S, V, anyone I can!
Top Three Reasons I Can’t Sew:
1) Overwhelm
(2) Not being able to envision how to proceed
(3) Lack of energy
Top 3 things I hate sewing:
(1) Synthetics
(2) Sewing for other people – except mum, since she taught me, I like giving back!
(3) Curtains!
Top Three Reasons I Can Sew:
(1) it is easy to do in little pieces of time or energy
(2) strong motivation because what I like to wear isn’t easily available
(3) I just love fabrics!!!!
Oh lets be honest, I just love doing it.
Top 3 things I LOVE to sew:
(1) pretty, nice feeling natural fabrics with gorgeous floral prints.
(2) nighties!
(3) retro dresses
Make a nice ‘going out’ dress from that embroidered lace and the white rayon.

Scroop fantail: a sad story of a stain

21 Jan

A while back I was a pattern tester for a Scroop pattern and it convinced me to buy a few more. I love the fantail, so …

It amuses me in this photo you can see that although I press my seams religiously, I don’t bother ironing the fabric…

There’s a lot of swish in that back! I made the modern version so I sewed down my pleats.

Fantail Skirt: Historical + Modern

The fabric is Spotties Stretch sateen and the most divine yellow ever. Most yellows and oranges look TERRIBLE on me, so they get relegated to skirts/trousers, if worn at all. This beautiful banana-ish yellow went beautifully with all my tops, such as the lovely red toile one I’m wearing here, and I wore that skirt on very high rotation.

Behold the swish!


I recommend Scroop patterns extremely highly! They’re so well thought through, and so well drafted. If any of them catch your fancy, go for it!

Back to my skirt…

Friends, it was TRAGIC!

The skirt got a stain right on the front thigh where it was really obvious.

I tried sooooo hard to get it out, as I adored the skirt far too much to give up on it. But I just couldn’t. I scoured Spotlight for more of it to simply cut a new front. I also looked online for it but it was all sold out.


I was so dispirited it went to the op shop in the hope someone else would find a way to get the stain out, or to embellish over it, or just not care about it.

I thought long and hard about embellishing it myself, especially as Scroop Patterns and the designer are so committed to not damaging the environment, as am I! But it was a ‘basic’ skirt, and basics are in very short supply in my wardrobe. Embellishing it would have relegated it to the very many fancy skirts I wear only occasionally.

It was one of those things where I let it go in the hopes it would get a second life somewhere else.

I found almost the same yellow in Spotlight’s quilting cotton plain colours. I’m happier about that actually because with no lycra it should last a bit longer anyway. I just need to make it up. Soon. You know how it goes…

Fantail Skirt: Historical + Modern
The historical version, which I also plan to make up in brown second hand sari silk

Unexpectedly elegant flowers – McCalls 7385

18 Oct

(Another make I’ve taken a while to get round to blogging about!)

I bought a lot of this stretch sateen floral, more than I usually do. Probably on special, end of bolt thing where you buy the rest and it’s cheaper than what you originally wanted to buy. Spotties, I’m looking at you.

And of course, having bought it all, I felt obliged to use it all up, (or maybe not obliged but didn’t want to have a few metres of fabric I’ve already used, sitting in my sewing cupboard forever). Happily I adore a good maxi dress, and having recently bought McCalls 7385, it was singing a siren song to me.

It’s the panels and way of gathering across the bodice that I loved, and I was right about it, it looks really lovely on me. Empire line or anything approaching it usually does. Happily that style is also one of my favourite silhouettes! I made view D, but cut the front seam on the fold and eliminated the slit in the skirt. Since I was intending to wear it as an everyday smart casual dress, I needed something covering my shoulders properly from the sun, so I put in my favourite cap sleeve.

However it actually turned out much fancier than smart casual. So it has been worn everywhere from shopping at Bunnings (hardware store and nursery) to an evening at a cafe with friends (the kind of wear I originally planned) to going to the opera at the Entertainment centre. Wear anywhere! Totally my kind of dress!

It’s just a bit hot around the waist for the worst of the heat and humidity of the build up (October/November. Like now, right?) but the rest of the year it’s comfortable and I feel a million dollars in it.

And there’s something just sooooo nice about wearing beautiful flowers all over you 😀

The magic of muumuus

28 Jul

I’ve long had a fascination with Hawaiin and Polynesian patterns. I think it’s the romance of the pacific, you know, the South Pacific musical, Captain Bligh, the incredible skills of Polynesian navigators, obsidian stone tools, Easter Island statues, the gorgeous music – and the dancing!!
I guess the patterns embody that to me. They’re SO EXPENSIVE though, and sadly are usually small sizes.

But, I’ve discovered I’m human, and a Rewards for doing things I reeelly don’t like (admin for my ballet school, personal admin, dealing with difficult people etc) motivates me to get these things over and done with already.

Vintage 1960 Polynesian 106 UNCUT Sewing Pattern Misses' Muu Muu Dress Size Medium Bust 34-36 by SewUniqueClassique on Etsy

The promise of a new pacific pattern is a great carrot, thus, I have a modest but fun collection of them.

Hawaiian Dress Mu Mu Pattern 1960s Long Dress by ThePerfectPattern

Most Hawaiin/Polynesian/Pacifica patterns are variations on muumuus, similar to Papua New Guinea’s meri-blouse, and south-east Asian housecoats, or as I know them from Indonesia, Dastas. This style of fashion has an interesting history related to Missionary work and is prevalent in tropical countries.

MuuMuu or MuMu - ANGEL BACK DRESS PATTERN - Patterns Pacifica 3040 / such a beautifully cut muumuu pattern.

And due to our horrendous Build Up season – October/November, roasting heat, really high humidity as the weather builds up to the wet season/monsoon – these patterns are getting USED!!!

This is the first one I sewed up.

I sized it up, including an FBA, and of course overdid it, hence the seam in the centre of the yoke to take some of the width back out, cleverly disguised with buttons 😉

The sleeves are my own favourite cap sleeve design as I didn’t have enough fabric for the pretty ruffly or puffed ones. Besides I wasn’t sure if the ruffles would make me feel ridiculous. (I just have to say I think my smile here is a lot like my Auntie’s!)

What I really like about this dress is the subtle shaping that takes it from a shapeless tent to a very pretty, cool dress that is the envy of other women come Build Up time (I know, I’ve been told!)

It was very easy to sew, the only issue was getting the fit right.

The fabric is stretch sateen from Spotlight. I love the designs, the hand, and the stretch of this range of fabrics, but the lycra dies within a year or so and then the fabric is wrinkly and just … kinda weird and dead 😦

The sports bra I’m wearing underneath perfectly matches the back neckline. Accident, not design! When I make it again, (because I will!) I will raise the neckline so it’s easier to get sunscreen coverage – as essential to the Build Up as breezy dresses are when you’re skin is as fair as mine.

Sadly the dress pictured succumbed to dead-lycra fate a month or so ago. I have some quilting fabric for a new one all ready to go for this build up. Quilting fabric usually lasts a good 2 yrs, so is a better buy. Even though those Spotties stretch satteen are such eye candy!

My posse of sewing companions – Ma’at the cat, complete with suitable Cattitude, and the dog in the foreground, Smokie, with his usual enthusiasm for everything! The dog in the background, Droopy, is there because that’s Her Spot, even with moving boxes around her as we moved not long after these photos were taken.

Vicky and Albert and my dragon-hoarding crochet and knit adventure

9 Apr

There was a recent fiasco in Aussie politics where many an unwary politician lost their jobs because they were, unbeknownst to them, dual citizens. I realised through this that, to my horror, I am not only Australian, but an English citizen too! Euw!

My Irish side is still rebelling against this horrifying realisation!!! My Aussie self thinks it’s ridiculous, firmly believing we should be a republic and kick England to the curb. But my English bit? I considered long and hard if I was a monarchist, or a republican. I realised as and English person, in contrast to the rest of me, I loved all the pomp and ceremony of it.

Isn’t this a sewing blog?

Yeah. So … I found these awesome patterns at the Victorian and Albert Museum website. And suddenly all that internal conflict went out the window. Coz Ooooooh look! Pretty patterns!
Other patterns this very English monarchy museum has online are knitting patterns like this 1940s fatigue cap I instantly imagined for my brother in Canberra. Southern Australia is soon going into that oooh weird horrible cold winter thingy they have there. I’m sure he needs this cap, right?


I could also see it on my brother’s child, my niece/my sister in London/my bestie in Adelaide/me/mum… you get the idea.

Well… now to current affairs. W’re not in official LOCKDOWN for Coronavirus at the moment in Australia, but it’s kinda ‘Behave like you are or we’ll make it official.’
Mum’s in the Vulnerable category, I get asthma, so I’m of course I’m staying at home etc. So what’s a girl to do at home with masses of time on her hands? Sew!!!!

I went to Spotties for fabric, but more importantly, buttons and threads and zips for the fabrics in my stash I might use in case we do actually end up in full lockdown.

And I somehow I accidentally wandered into the yarn area. Hmmm. Not sure how that happened. Then I just accidentally I came home with yarn for everyone and for a few matching scarves too.


I soon discovered when I started using this sock yarn for my Adelaide bestie’s hat, that being 4ply, it’s taking forever to knit. Not to mention the design of the hat is a 1m funnel that’s folded back over itself then you can stick it on your head and roll up the rest to warm your ears. Or use as a scarf apparently. 1 metre!!! A 1 knitted tube of 4 ply!!!! HALP!!!

Also, I’m much more a crocheter than knitter, and omg knitting takes forever!
Moda Vera Not Just Socks Yarn 100 g

So for my bro, I went back and got some 8 ply. It will work fine in a 1 layer tube of 50cm in 8 ply, I’m sure. Especially for my brother who doesn’t seem to feel the cold, weirdly, as he grew up in the tropics too. (Go figure right?)
Cleckheaton Country Naturals 8 Ply 50 g

Then I got realistic and looked for crochet patterns.

My niece is going to look utterly adorbs in this hat, which I’ll make in aqua with a pink pom pom. Oh so cute!!!!!! (She’s adorable anyway but add in that cap? eeeeeeee!)

Schicke Mütze

Patons Dreamtime 4 Ply Yarn 50 g

And I’ll make a matching scarf in this pattern, in a soft pink with aqua fringing. incidentally, I’m very proud of myself, I learnt a new skill – learning a crochet pattern from a video!

Mum’s will be this pattern – yes it is actually crochet! from ravelry, one of the best sites on the net in my humble opinion.

I’ll use this sock yarn colourway. It’ll look great on my mum. She’s a real Blue Person 🙂

My sister proved hardest to get right, having very specific needs. Warm, preferably lined in flannel, double layer over her ears. But wool gives her ecsma so either not wool, or to be lined. In the end she chose this hat pattern which I’m to line in cotton flannelette. She’ll look adorbs in this too 🙂
Ladies Rose & Violets Brimmed Hat Girls Ladies L Crochet pattern by Meadowvale Studio

I’ve got this beautiful-feeling not-wool yarn for it.Moda Vera Bamboo Cotton Yarn 50 g

Last but not least, I clearly need new warm hats too,right? For the trips down south I so won’t be making this year. Or hair kercheifs, which work well with my crazy hair and are cool enough to wear here in Darwin.

This is what I got! I have NO idea what I’ll do with it. It’s more of a thread than a woolen yarn, and there’s a lot of it. But oooooh it’s pretty and sparkly irl!
Lionbrand Summer Nights Acrylic And Polyester Blended Yarn
And since baby blue is one of my favourite colours I got some of this for this hat. It’s an 8 ply pattern but it said a slightly smaller yarn would work too so hopefully I can get the pattern to work in this wool. The hat pattern is So Me!

Patons Dreamtime 4 Ply Yarn 50 g

And a few more yarns like this one, for hairscarves including more baby blue. There are so many background or netting patterns online. I can read diagrams and even some pictures of some of the simpler samples so I’m a bit overwhelmed at the moment as to possibilities for all my thread treasures.
Milford Mercer Yarn


Between these yarns and all the fabric I accidentally bought for the social distancing/isolation, I feel like a dragon gloating over her hoard of beautiful jewels!

My silliest make ever?

8 Mar

I certainly feel silly when I wear them. And I wear them A LOT!


Jodhpurs! And here I am in them at Riding for the Disabled, (who also do lessons for able-bodied people like me), with the very cheeky horse Dylan, and the fantastic coach Natasha

Riding is hot, dusty – or muddy! wet (I can’t seem to go near water without getting soaked, and we wash the horses down afterwards), and sweaty. Bits of chaff stick to you, bits of horsehair horse sweat and horse smell sticks to you, leather saddle smell sticks to you. It’s just … mess.

How silly a contrast can you get to this oh so pretty fabric?


A tad … inappropriate?!

Why on earth this fabric? I wanted a comfy cotton/lycra stretch knit to try out the pattern. Spotties didn’t have any plain stuff, leaving me with a choice between very genderised boy-prints or girl prints.

The boy prints were all a bit gamon. So I narrowed the girl prints down to a blue floral, or this one. I chose this, coz, well, the silliness of choice made me laugh. And laughing is good for you! So is not taking yourself too seriously, right?

The backstory: I started learning horseriding last year and I LOVE IT. It can be funny seeing people’s reactions to when I tell them. Most people these days know me as a dancer, my life full of chiffon and pointe shoes in a very artificial stage or studio setting.dav

But it’s not so odd, really. The love of horses runs deep in my family, indeed both my paternal grandparents ran a riding school, and there are horse riders on my mother’s side too. And, in spite of my apparently pretty delicate ballerina air, I actually grew up mostly rural.

But regardless, I have very soft skin that blisters easily. As easily from a seam chaffing at my inner thighs when in the saddle, as it does pointe shoes in ballet class. Sigh.

Since jeans or leggings were chaffing badly, I investigated rtw jodphurs, discovering they are expensive, all look Very Serious, (ie boring) and have all the same fitting issues I have with any rtw trousers or leggings – too big in the waist or too small in the hip; pulling down at the back due to the shape of my crotch curve. And, of course, the thighs too small.

Yes, rtw trousers thighs are usually too small! Don’t laugh! The struggle is real, guys!

I decided to make my own jodhpurs to get a good fit and because it would be cheaper if making more than one. And also, I was curious as to how they were drafted. And unsure anyway as to good the actually were when in the saddle.

Enter Jalie Cora leggings.

Jalie 3462 - Cora Running Tights Pattern (Fabrics RUB695 + MF 5001 from FunkiFabrics)

They’re great. They do what they say on the packet, are very well drafted, and comfortable. And see the seam down the front of the legs? Perfect! No more blisters! And bonus, no more bootleg jeans swishing round my ankles being quite frankly, a bit of a safety issue.


For the record, I love these riding boots I bought from Saddleworld! Leather with a rubber sole and regulation small heel, they were sold as paddock to saddle or something like that. ie not just for riding, but for looking after horses too.

When I started, I didn’t really think so far ahead as to realise it would be a great excuse to buy more shoes. But hey, who’s complaining?!

Sewing assessment coz I have no idea what I’m doing

7 Feb

Trying to close the gap between what I like sewing and what I want to wear. (There’s no pictures in this post. Does this then not count as a sewing blog post? 😀 )


My dress tastes are changing. I’m looking for calmer, and perhaps a bit more formal dressing. Well that’s a guess coz I really have no idea.

I found this self assessment tool on my hard drive with absolutely no way of identifying who it came from. An online search didn’t reveal anything either. If you recognise the questions, please let me know where, so I can credit them.

Rightio here goes….

Top Three Items That I Wear For Home:

Floofy dress, floofy dress, floofy dress

Top Three Items That I Wear For Work:

Ballet teaching: knit tunic top and leggings

Writing etc: Purple shift dress, fit and pleat dresses, skirt and nice blouse, and I wish I could add here ‘trousers and nice blouse’ but I don’t have any trousers argh!!!

Bonus extra – going out and about: tunic (patterned, just below low hip) and leggings or same as writing.

Top 3 items for exercise:

Pilates/bike riding: Leggings, t-shirt, soft bra

Ballet: leo, skirt, tights, sturdy bra

Horseriding: socks, boots, jodhpurs, UPF 50+ top sports bra

Top Three Sewing Talents (go on, show off!):

Ooooohhhhh hmmm.

Fitting myself and my mother LOL and I do understand the concept of fitting generally!

Making nice cotton rayon or linen clothing. I know these fibres inside out and roundabout. I am the queen of natural fibre sewing!

Adding frou-frou and pretty embellishments 😀

Top Three Sewing Weak Spots (ouch!):

Er…. well, this. Sewing what I like to actually wear ie a lot more Basics.

Feeling in control of my fabric and pattern stash. I really want a system for it but don’t really know how, as my creativity changes things up and I am working with new ideas all the time. This is why sewing basics never happens.

Sewing knits, including anything involving elastic. I can do it but can’t get it comfortable to wear.

Bonus: Sewing jackets/coats which I have little call to do but when I want to, I don’t really know how. I have made a few but I bumble my way through them.

Top 3 weather oriented styles

dry season: whatever I feel like coz it’s cool enough! when cold, my snuggly merino cardy

Build up: floofy, nothing touching my body. But not like a nightie. Empire line seems to be my favourite

Wet: shorter clothes so I can splash in puddles and not get a wet hem eg shorts rather than trousers. Shorter dresses and skirts. Loose is still good due to the high humidity but full floof is hapmering.

Top Three Sewing Goals:

Feel better about my stashes and also get them better organised

Have a wardrobe full of clothes I want to wear

Sew a bra I like to wear

Top Three People Who Enable Me:

Haha, mum, V, C, and A, er everyone?

Top Three People I Enable:

C, mum, anyone I can!

Top Three Reasons I Can’t Sew:

Time and energy and overwhelm/lack of inspiration. Not being able to envision how to proceed, too.

Top 3 things I hate sewing:

synthetic yukky fabrics

boring, uninspiring fabrics ie why I usually find trouser sewing tedious!

sewing things I haven’t had any creative input into, which is why I don’t like sewing for other people. Most soft furnishings fall into this category too.


Top Three Reasons I Can Sew:
Inspired – if I’m inspired I really finish things and love them

Setting time aside

I just love it

Top 3 things I LOVE to sew:


pretty, nice feeling natural fabrics with gorgeous patterns


Make a nice ‘going out’ dress from that embroidered lace and the white rayon.

Not sure what to draw from this. I think the most obvious thing is I have a mismatch between what I like to wear and what I sew. ie I want to sew ‘pretty, nice feeling natural fabrics with gorgeous patterns’

What I want to wear is ‘pretty, nice-feeling natural fabrics with a nice textural component to them.’

I also want to have more of a work-wear uniform. I made myself 5 purple shift dresses. But the dresses I reach for are dark blue/varying shades of navy and the darker purple ones.

I love beautifully patterned fabric for nighties, though. And for tops/shirts probably more subtle but I like patterns there too.

I also hate my arms being restricted.

I also prefer more fit and flare styles, apart from in the Build Up when I want as little as possible touching my skin! ie floofy dresses. So skirts with a top that has a nipped in waist work well.

Perhaps this is where I’m falling flat with trousers.

I’ve had a few style consultanty type people tell me I should wear bootleg, not full, or long rather than just below the knee. And that basically I look a bit dumpy in full type trousers. Which I’m not sure I do look, but it got in my head. Also full length because 3/4 ‘makes me look short’ sigh.

But really I just AM short. Recognising this helped me with ballet too. Some ballet mum years ago told me my arms were short. Which I happen to know from sewing they’re not, they’re long. But it got in my head. Then one day I was looking at my lines in the mirror and realised, you know, it’s not that my arms are short. My entire body is short! So there! I’m just a shortypants!)

As a result of all this, I tend to make trousers 3/4 length bootleg, which are hot so I don’t really like wearing them. And hard work to sew. BORING! Two counts against them. BORNING, and something I don’t really like to wear. Perhaps I just need either swishy flaring ones, A-line gaucho-ish, or legging-look-alikes?

But it’s about proportion, really. And I think it’s shoes more than the length or style for my bottom half, as to whether I look dumpy or not. (also what’s actually wrong with being dumpy???)
A shorter top often looks much better proportionately, than a longer one, too. Unless it’s a tunic of course.

Lots of food for thought here…


Fit’n’pleat dresses are so easy to wear!

18 Nov


A few years ago I made a frankendress of a princess-line top with this gorgeous sweetheart neckline, and a 1960s re-issue dress that I used for the skirt. I made it from that stretch-cotton sateen that Spotlight does so well.20160829_14311320160829_143118

The skirt is from this pattern. I love the collar though, too. One day I will make the dress as shown on the left. One day…

Butterick 5747


Oh my goodness did I literally wear this dress to death, it was so comfortable, and cool enough for all but the absolute hottest-awfullest days, I could dress it up or down, and collected compliments on it everywhere I went.

So I tried the same comfortably fitted bodice with a fuller skirt concept in more stretch cotton sateen. (I love this picture, you can see my mum taking the photo, in the mirror!)davdav

Boy did I get compliments on it. Design a print full of gorgeous flowers in colours that all suit me perfectly? Then turn it into a pretty dress that fit beautifully and I wore everywhere? Of course the compliments flowed 😀

I used my basic bodice, and the skirt from this dress from ‘Your style rocks’. Your Style Rocks’ was a great little site offering free patterns that is no longer around. I made the whole dress as pictured, when the pattern first came out, and the top just didn’t suit my body. But the skirt was gorgeous!

Related image

More! fit-n-pleated dress posts to come soon…


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