Saturday, 5 April 2014

China blue

Damn and blast all washed out photos! 

This fabric - a bed sheet I picked up in an op-shop - was originally white, which looked far too stark for a dress and since when do I wear white anyway? So I took to it with a packet of China Blue dye.

The pattern is New Look 6587, view D.

Alterations: I took the bodice waaaaaay in. It looks loose on the model on the pattern envelope but fitted in the design drawings. Considering it has princess seams I don't really understand why it would be so loose-fitting. So I took mine in.

The other alteration is I used a zip instead of buttons. I really just don't enjoy the fiddlyness of buttons and matching them up with button holes, blah blah blah... and I just happened to have a zip which matched perfectly.

Brief life update: 
I have quite my job of 10 years, and my final week is next week. This is rather scary but I am looking forward to a change. 
Jay and I have split up. We had a wonderful time together and I am glad I can still call her a friend.

And, and! I have a new tattoo! You can see half of it here and in the third photo above. It is two swallows, one on each shoulder. I only had it done on Wednesday so it's still quite bruised and tender.

AND in a few short hours I'll be attending the debauchery that is Helgastock2014! There may or may not be photos, depending on how incriminating they are...

So yes. New dress, new tattoo, new life. Loving it.

(final gratuitous photo just because I like it)

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Wide leg jeans

Jeans or trousers are something I don't make very often. I don't wear them often and/or I prefer skinny leg styles. 

Saying that, I do love high waisted, wide leg styles but I find they're not so easy to come by or terribly flattering. 

This pattern is Vogue 8751. I've been wanting to make some good quality denim trousers and this is a great simple pattern to start with. I'll get to things like studs and pockets when I'm more familiar with such a heavy fabric.
I used a mid weight denim with no stretch for these in size 12. No alterations required. I used a narrow hem at the lower leg edge so I can turn these up into nice cuffs (although they'll hover above my ankles if I do so that option probably won't be taken).

I only have two issues with these. One is my fault; I placed the lower hook and eye closure too far out and you can see it. No big deal but annoying enough for me.

The other issue is that these make my backside look really flat! I mean I'm no Coco Austin but this is not a good look! I don't like this photo much but you can see what I mean here. Possibly I could take in the seam a little around the back but I'm not going to touch these now that they're done. I'll experiment with another pair.

Also, how cute is my top!? It's a Rock Steady top from Mod Cloth but I got it a while ago so I think it will be sold out now.

Anyway, there you go. Jeans. Now I just have to wear them.

The end.

Sunday, 16 March 2014


Ear tufts!

This is Jack (aka Jack-o'-Lantern). 

Jack was in need of a home and came to us on Friday.

As I type, he is literally digging his claws into my backside. Apparently, it is a toy for him.

Everything is a toy for Jack. Feet are toys. Clothes are toys. Curtains are toys (NO THEY'RE NOT). Ribbons and bits of old stuffed animals are toys (these are fine).

Is that the beginning of a mane I spy?

He spends all night sleeping with me, then Jay, then me, then Jay....

He gorgeous and he is loved.

Monday, 10 March 2014


This was supposed to be a post about a pair of wide-leg jeans I'm making, but the zip just broke and now I Hate Them. So here are some headscarves instead.

I really like this look but I didn't just want a rectangle or triangle of fabric wrapped around my head. After trying out some pleats and gathers I've settled on this design. It's a rectangle, with a centre pleat or fold, and attached tie ends. 

The pleat means there isn't a heap of fabric bunched up around the knot, which is specifically what I wanted to avoid. 


These photos were taken in a hot sewing room so my hair is getting more and more frizzy as these photos go on.

So far I've made a few, and I have a heap of leftover fabric to make more. I also want to make some with long tie ends, to wear more as a headband with the ties hanging down, and some in silkier fabric.

I'm thinking of selling these but I'm not sure what the interest in them would be. If anyone has any suggestions for design or fabric I would love to hear them.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

1940's robe in satin and lace

Over the past 3 years I have regularly pulled this fabric out of a plastic bag, looked at it, despaired, and put it away again. It's an insanely slippery satin which feels like silk and I knew it would be a complete pain to cut out and sew.

Last weekend, inspiration finally hit.

 The pattern is Butterick 5152

The fabric is not exactly 1948-appropriate, but I think it works pretty well!1970's does 40's??

I didn't have quite enough fabric for the length, so I used some black lace for the yoke detail and for a band around the lower edge of the skirt. Apart from that I made no alterations.

These close up photos show the colour most accurately - it's quite a magenta/purple tone and not as pink as it looks in some of these photos.

I LOVE these sleeves. They're incredibly full and billow around like mad. They remind me of a wizard's cape/cloak.


The lace is stretchy and adds a lot of weight - perfect for twirling about and sweeping dramatically up and down the hallway (or anywhere really)

Oh! And my hair is purple! I spent two days bleaching the black out of it, dyeing it a permanent purple colour, banging my head against the wall because it didn't work, and then covering up the lot with Paintbox Purple Haze. Success! 
My hair is now quite fluffy because of the bleach but I like being fluffy.

The End.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

A quiz for book lovers | What are your reading habits?
I found this fantastic Q&A over at The Fictionista and just had to take part as I am a total bookworm. I would love to read others' answers as well!


Do you snack while you read? If so, favourite reading snack.

I don't usually eat at all while I'm reading. Most of my concentration will be devoted to the book and, as a consequence, most of my food may end up on the book as well. This is only acceptable with cook books.

What is your favourite drink while reading?

Tea. Always. Or champagne, if I'm reading Phryne Fisher.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?

I don't like to mark or write in books, unless they're a birthday gift etc, but I have placed little sticky tab things in a very badly written and edited Marilyn Monroe coffee table book. It was completely disrespectful to the subject and my blood boiled.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog ears? Laying the book flat open?

Book purists will scold me... dog ears. I lose bookmarks too easily to bother acquiring them, let along using them. Sometimes I even leave a book lying open, face up, with something resting on the pages (like my phone) to keep my place. Scold away.

Fiction, non-fiction, or both?

Both, of course! Murder mysteries, vampire series and anything set in Victorian London are my favourite types of fiction... although there are about 50 other genres which all follow very closely behind. Looking at my bookshelves now, I seem to favour biographies or English history when it comes to non-fiction. I'm getting interested in mythology lately as well.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of a chapter, or can you stop anywhere?

I try to stop at the end of a chapter, otherwise I can never remember which paragraph I stopped at and have to go back a page (even with the dog ears).

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you?

On the floor, yes. Across the room, no.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?

No. Stopping in the middle of a sentence would be very distracting. I usually stare at a word trying to figure it out and then promise myself I'll look it up later, which I never do. My vocabulary should really be more impressive than it actually is.

What are you currently reading?

Georgette Heyer biography, by Jennifer Kloester, Death of a Gentle Lady, by M. C. Beaton, and Vanity Fair magazine (yes, it counts).

What is the last book you bought?

A few Hamish McBeth mysteries by M. C. Beaton, The Prose Edda, by Snorri Sturluson and A Handbook of Norse Mythology by Karl Mortensen.

Are you the type of person that reads one book at a time, or can you read more than one?

I usually like to have two or three on the go. One for reading on the train to and from work, one for some serious chill out time at home on weekends, and one for light relief or when I'm trying to go to sleep.

Do you have a favourite time/place to read?

Reading in bed or in the bath are the best places. I do tend to drop books in the bath all the time... so there are a lot of crinkly pages on my bookshelves. I think books look nice when they are well-loved! 

Do you prefer series books or stand-alone?

Stand-alone books are great but I do love series. I love getting to know characters and making up my own stories for them in my head (whilst always inserting myself as the heroine of course). Living in a land of make-believe is totally acceptable.

Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?

It really depends who I am talking to. My tastes will not always be the same as someone else's and if the conversation turns to books I could easily forget how to shut up. I try not to try to jam five books down someone's throat (or into their eyeballs?) just because I loved reading them.

How do you organise your books? (genre, title, author's last name etc)

I don't. But I try to keep the series together, sort of.

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