Knickers were the name of the game today!



I used the free pattern from So Zo What Do You Know? and some various bits of jersey leftover from a few projects (you might remember this, this and this).



The blue picot-edge knicker elastic and the red stretch lace are both op shop scores; the maroon picot elastic I bought ages ago from Lincraft. It matched the maroon jersey perfectly!

I made the shiny purple ones first to test the pattern out. They fit so well I immediately production-lined another three pairs. To be honest I’d been meaning to make some undies for ages, but it kept slipping down the priority list.



Made any underthings lately, or found a good underwear pattern? I’d love to hear about it!

Whew! Another busy month passes by, and I missed the Monthly Stitch deadline by only one day.

October’s challenge was ‘The Final Frontier’. I immediately thought of this sweet Star Wars print voile that I picked up a recent sale:


But I just couldn’t decide what to make out of it.

But then I remembered a cute poplin I had in my stash with an unbrella/cloud print. And I needed new summer pyjamas. Voila!


The top is actually a nod to a previous challenge, Vintage Patterns, which I failed. Vogue 9215 has been on my to-do list for quite some time.

Vogue 9215

Now, Vogue 9215 is a Size 8. I am not a size 8. So I decided to put my newfound pattern-grading skills to the test again, and graded the little jacket up to a 14.

You guys!!! It worked!!!! This little baby fits perfectly. I used some scraps of blue satin from my stash for the neck band and cuff facings, to make it look pyjama-ey, and I think it looks adorable. The buttons, also from my stash, cost me 60c from an op shop somewhere in Melbourne.


For the shorts I used good old Simplicity 2721. They are pretty baggy but I’m going for sleep comfort here!! To keep the theme I used a bit more of the blue satin to bind the leg hems.


Sewing the square corner of the neck band seam was a little tricky, but luckily I had only recently completed very similar navigations on StyleArc’s Tamara Top. I was lazy and didn’t baste the seam this time (I should have!!) but it turned out okay.

The cuff facings were terribly flappy and I did have to tack them down all the way around. There’s a couple of episodes of Stargate Atlantis right there! Hand-sewing is a such great time to catch up on your sci-fi viewing.

The cuffs were also supposed to have little buttons on each side but a) I only had six of the little blue ones and b) I thought as PJ’s it might not be comfy to have buttons sticking into my shoulders all night.

Hope you all had a happy Hallowe’en, whatever country you’re in! I guess because it’s the day after, I should really be saying happy All Saints’ Day, right? ;-)

Hi all!

September’s theme on The Monthly Stitch was ‘Vintage Patterns’. I decided I was going to dip into some of my gorgeous retro Burda Moden magazines for a pattern.


This is only a selection. I have more.

But which one to choose from? So many fabulous offerings.



Backless was all the rage in the German summer of ’77.


Honestly, I could totally see this dress walking down King St on a Saturday night (or Oxford St, or whatever street near you that has trendy party people on a Saturday night).

But then there’s this beach robe.


Oh. My. God. It has POCKETS, people, POCKETS in the LAPEL!!! Because you need somewhere to keep your sunscreen!!! Does it get any better??

Eventually I decided to make this cute little wrap sundress, which reminded me of the Big4 vintage pattern reproduction that was so popular a couple of years ago.


Now, the old Burda Moden magazines only had each pattern in one size. And this dress was a 36. Which I am not. So this was going to be my pattern-grading lesson as well. There’s heaps of tutorials out the in the interwebs, so I got out my tracing paper and my ruler and my coloured pencils and got to work grading up to a 40 (or thereabouts, based on my measurements).

The good news is, when I made up the muslin, the bodice was perfect. Sadly, the very full gathered skirt made me look downright frumpy. No photos. Nope. I was disappointed and didn’t have the heart to continue with the pretty fabric I had dug out of my stash. I’m thinking I could do pleats instead of gathers, as they sit flatter, and also take some of the fullness out completely. But basically that project got sidelined for the time being.

The rest of my September weekends were full of non-sewing related stuff and I didn’t actually get much sewn until last weekend, in a last-ditch effort to produce a successful ‘vintage’ pattern project.


Enter McCalls 6852, circa 1980-something. That dolman/batwing sleeve is ‘on-trend’ right now I believe! The pattern is a 14, but it’s designed for a woven cut on the bias. I decided to not do any grading and make it out of jersey.


With a nod to Buy Nothing New Month, I recycled two t-shirts and a thrifted maxi skirt to make version ‘A’ of this pattern. The back of the tee is solid black. I’m wearing it today and it’s oh-so-comfy! The fabrics are a soft viscose or rayon jersey so have a nice drape and hand. Sadly I didn’t make the September deadline for The Monthly Stitch, but I might sneak over and post it anyway :-)

Summer hit Sydney pretty hard on the weekend so I see some more short-sleeved makes in the future. There’s some of that the printed jersey from the thrifted maxi left so it may make another appearance.

Do you have any seasonal projects upcoming? Do you use thrifted fabrics?


So my lunchbox was starting to fall apart, quite literally, at the seams. Plus, some of my lunch food containers didn’t fit into it. I decided enough was enough, and went about making a custom one!

After some quality time on Pinterest and some general surfing around lunchbox ideas, I based my lunchbox on the construction of the Fiskars Insulated Lunch Bag, which is a free pattern/tutorial. Using my largest lunch container as a guide, I did some math and sketched up a draft pattern.

The Fiskars bag is sewn all-in-one, but I didn’t want visible seams inside my bag. To do that I made the lining separate from the shell, and then slipped one inside the other, wrong sides together, before finishing the binding around the upper opening.

I used some deco fabric I’d had in the stash for ages for the outer shell. I haven’t done it yet but I intend to give it a good spray with Scotchguard to help keep it nice and clean. It is, however, washable.

The lining is a layer of bamboo quilt batting (leftovers from a previous project), a bright pink quilting cotton from the stash, and an inner lining of some clear vinyl I scored through work a few years ago. Those I layered all together and sewed as one. Doing it this way meant the vinyl was always together, so I didn’t have to worry about walking feet or that sort of stuff. I did use a jeans needle, though.

I’m afraid I had one of those ‘having-too-much-fun-to-take-pictures’ projects so I’ve got nothing of the construction!


Seams were layered and pinked. The button and elastic closure were sewn onto the shell prior to joining it to the lining, and I did reinforce those areas with some scraps of iron-on interfacing (on the wrong side of the fabric). The handle I completely forgot to add before I did the binding, so that got sewn on by hand.


The clear vinyl means I can wipe the inside with a damp cloth to keep it clean, but I can wash this in cold water (probably by hand or on the delicate cycle). I know that the vinyl is probably not food-safe or BPA free,  but it was a practice run, and as long as my food doesn’t come into direct contact with it I think I’ll survive.

The base of the bag is reinforced with a rectangle of clear plastic (the stuff you use with document binding machines, cos that’s what I had). I made a little pocket against the wrong side of the lining with a piece of fabric and slipped the plastic in there.


There’s a couple of pop-studs on the sides to help keep the closure tidy. The bag ended up a little roomier than I intended – I was a little generous with my measurements – but that’s totally fine. Finished measurements are about 35cm tall, and the base is 20cm x 22cm.


And hey. Folds flat for easy storage! It’s going to get a test run this week, and if it works I might revise the measurements a bit and make another one. I have a piece of laminated fabric I bought yonks ago with a lunchbox in mind; it could happen!!!

Enjoy your week my friends – happy lunchbox!



How much sewing can I do in one month? Well, I guess that depends on how many episodes of Stargate Atlantis I can watch in my sewing room.

Here’s some hilarious Czech ‘Zalenka-isms’, for fun.

Okay so back to the sewing. About a month ago I got a couple of StyleArc patterns when they were having a sale. One of the patterns I purchased was the Tamara Top, a fairly simple-shaped top with some interesting design lines.

I’m on a self-imposed spending freeze, which means no new fabrics at the moment, so it’s stash or bust in the sewing room. And let’s be honest, I have plenty. That top drawer is new fabrics, mostly stretch, and the second drawer is ‘refashionables’. And let’s not talk about the plastic tubs in the garage.


To trial the pattern I used some blue double jersey salvaged from a (mostly unsuccessful) attempt to make leggings (ironically, from another StyleArc pattern). The black & white tweed was refashioned from a skirt I picked up at the op shop. (Look, that’s it in the drawer! See?)

Version 1

See that seamline down the front? Not part of the pattern. That’s the side seam from the leggings that failed.

Version 1 - blue double jersey & recycled tweed skirt

I’m actually really happy with the result! The top fits well and is a nice shape on me. I quite like my extra seam. I’m gonna call it a feature.

So I went ahead and made another one! Again I used some rescued fabrics. The taupe knit is a viscose lycra, which I bought only recently and made into a long-sleeved drapey top, but that looked like a monk’s robe when I put it on. Sooooo taupe, sooooooo blaaah.

Version 2

The printed stretch satin was originally from Spotlight, a few years ago, that I used to make up a commercial pattern but I decided to alter the pattern on the fly… bad idea. I loved the fabric, though, so the unfinished garment and the leftover fabric have been languishing in my stash ever since.

Version 2 - viscose lycra & printed stretch satin

As I’ve found with StyleArc, the instructions are pretty basic. That said, the top wasn’t hard to put together. The trickiest bit was the corner seam at the upper front, but I basted it first and I think that made all the difference. Trying to manipulate that corner under the presser foot, clipping and dealing with pins at the same time – no thanks.

I used my regular sewing machine for the seams, but finished the edges with the overlocker. I know knits don’t fray but it just looks nicer on the inside if the edges are finished. And when I say ‘regular machine’, I’m referring to the Janome SuperAutomatic which has become my favourite workhorse sewing machine:


The patterns says you can use stretch or woven for the insert panels. The tweed is a woven – it had a tiny bit of give due to the weave, but not enough to call it a stretch. It worked fine for the panels in the bodice, but in the sleeve I could have done with a little more ease. You know, for my bulging biceps. Ha ha ha.

In the second version, as both fabrics were stretch, it was completely fine. Both versions pull a little across the bust, somehow more noticeably in the taupe than the blue, so possibly I needed a little extra for the bust. Neither neckline sits very flat, I think the binding is just a little too bulky. The blue is quite thick, and I only used a single layer of binding, but in the taupe I followed the pattern and used a doubled piece, thinking the lighter fabric would work better. I think possibly the interfacing I used is too heavy, resulting in that sticky-out neckline.

All in all though I’m pretty happy!


Anyone else had experiences with StyleArc patterns? How about those 6mm seam allowances, huh? (I have to admit to adding extra seam allowance when I traced out the pattern. 6mm is just scary to me!)


Hi there! I thought I’d share some baking with you, just to prove that I’m not only all about the sewing.



I based these on this recipe, with a few minor adjustments. The recipe called for 1 egg plus one egg yolk, but I hate splitting eggs, so I replaced the yolk with a dollop of yoghurt.


White Chocolate Matcha Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour (I used a gluten-free flour)
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1 tbsp matcha (green tea) powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar (lightly packed)
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (I used raw sugar)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tbsp greek yoghurt
  • 180g white choc chips, or roughly chopped white chocolate

Preheat oven to 325F (165C)

Beat butter & sugars until creamy.

Beat in vanilla, egg & yoghurt.

Sift in flour, matcha powder, baking soda & salt. Mix until dough is just blended. Fold in white chocolate.

Drop spoonfuls onto a prepared baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until just browning around the edges.  Cool on trays for a couple of minutes, then transfer onto wire racks.


I ran 7.1km this morning. I think I earned a couple of cookies :-)

Wait, let’s have a closeup.


Happy Birthday Kylie!

About 3 years ago, I picked up a big pile of patchwork/craft fabric at an Op Shop. Part of the haul was these two gorgeous pieces of tie-dye flannelette. (I won’t say how much they cost me, cos they ended up as a birthday present, but it was not much!) At the time I thought I would end up using it to back a cot quilt or something similar. But there comes a time in every sewist’s life that you just say to yourself, MAKE PYJAMAS.

And Kylie’s birthday was coming up.

The hardest part was deciding which colour she would like…. so I made two pairs and let Kylie  choose for herself! 20150809_182046[1] Which means I got a pair as well! Hurrah! Kylie picked the bluey-green ones so I got the orange ones –  orange being my favourite colour, I was pretty happy. 20150809_182224[1] They are the softest, fuzziest flannelette I have ever laid my hands on. Soooo warm and cosy (it’s still winter here in the southern hemisphere, by the way :-) I did have to use my knowledge of dye techniques, though. While sewing the blue ones, I noticed these tiny white flecks of stuff sort of stuck all over the fabric. I couldn’t pick it off. What was it??? Then I realised – they were batik-dyed. It was wax!! So out came a warm iron and some baking paper, it came off no worries at all.

So I snuck over to her house while she was out running the City 2 Surf and put dinner in the slow cooker :-P Then I went home and made a coconut cheesecake with a macadamia-nut crust. 20150809_191021_Richtone(HDR)[1] I used this recipe, although I have a bit of a mental block when it comes to artificial sweeteners so I subbed in golden castor sugar and coconut sugar. That’s toasted coconut flakes on top there – yum!


Yeah, I used a filter.

It was a fantastic cheesecake. I think I overcooked it a smidge, cos it sunk in the middle, and the outside was a bit dark, but the crust did this amazing caramelized thing which I could have eaten all night.  And the whole chicken in the slow cooker – messy, but delicious!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 313 other followers