Monday, March 20, 2017

Obre silk maxi skirt

In Sydney in the new year I went to Tessuti Fabrics in Chatswood, as I am wont to do... and saw this on the remnant table:

Lets zoom in on that label:

I actually placed it back on the remnant table after picking it up - after all, what was a mother of 2 with few opportunities to dress up going to do with 2m of ombre silk? I then realised that I would regret it if I didn't buy it - especially at that price - so I bought it.

And wouldn't you know, my middle school son presented me with an invitation to a "semi formal" night out, so I sewed the fabric into a tube (the rolled hem foot got another workout - see right), gathered it onto an elastic waistband, and wore it out:

Completing the outfit with an vintage rhinestone ombre brooch I picked up on eBay years earlier, just in case....

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A dress from 5 rectangles

When I saw this fabric at Alta Moda in Bali:

it triggered a vague memory, of a dress I'd seen with lace inserts... thank goodness for Pinterest. The fabric is a polyester chiffon with sewn-in lace running the length of the fabric. It came in 3 different colours - a taupe / brown, the pink I purchased, and a green tone. It was around A$3.50 a metre. I almost left the store without it, as I'm not keen on polyester, but at that price....! I turned back and went for it.

Here's my plan of attack for the 2m of fabric I purchased:

Here's the inspiration - and the realisation:

Not having sewn much chiffon, and given the fabric was a bargain, I treated myself to a rolled hem foot to assist. True, the rolled hem foot came in a box with 14 other feet, but again, it too was a bargain - all 15 feet for about twice what a rolled hem foot alone would cost! Thanks Sew Much Easier!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Displaying a vintage board game

My 99 year old Nan is determined to die possession-less. She's Marie Kondo-ing with vigour. Luckily I get to intercept some of the stuff, and see if it "sparks joy" with me. This piece did, battered though it is:

 I had an IKEA Ribba shadow-box frame to hand. which fit the board perfectly. I used double-sided tape to secure the board to the back of the cardboard insert in the frame. For a bit of interest, and given I had the depth of the frame to fill, I had my Dad drill a hole in a dice (die), and pushed a nail through from the back of the board, and mounted the dice on the nail, so it appeared to be caught mid-toss. Here's some closer views of it:

Monday, February 6, 2017

A new year, a new dress

I spent Christmas in Bali. Not surprising, as I live in Perth. Here's what the flight plan looks like:

Before leaving, I asked a sewing friend who had been to Bali if she had any tips for me. She referred me to her blog post about shopping for fabric in Bali. I was sold!

So, I hired a driver and set out one day for Alta Moda Fabrics. It was everything Meggipeg had promised. Floor to ceiling fabrics over 4 floors; "floors" being another word for "fabric storage space":

I came away with 4 fabrics, a total of 9 metres. The experience was definitely enhanced by the fact there was a 50% off sale on, so everything was half price. Here's my 4 purchases:
First up I chose to make a simple shift dress with the most expense fabric - an Italian cotton with a waffle weave and a brilliant graphic floral design. I think it worked out to about A$14 a metre and I only bought 1m:

The fabric was so rich I didn't want to make anything too complicated:

In order to squeeze the dress out of 1m of fabric there are no facings, but the neckline and armholes are finished with a vintage bias from my grandmother's stash. (I followed this tutorial to attach the bias.)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Sewing a holiday wardrobe. Well, a holiday dress!

When I spotted this knit rayon on the "marked down" table at Spotlight I immediately loved the colours and know what I wanted to do with it - a pillowcase maxi. Specifically a pillowcase maxi to wear on a trip to Fiji. Something that was soft and cool and packed well.

There are a number of tutorials on the web - I followed this one and this one. Naturally I had to complicate things by only sewing one side seam. Accordingly I had to cut then bind the other armhole (otherwise you'd just end the seam below your armpit, as you do on the seamed side).

Ever since Meggipeg mentioned it in her blog, I've been paranoid about pattern placement , so I knew I had to offset the pattern so as not to inadvertently lead the eye when you don't want it led (ie don't place a blossom smack bang over a breast - unless that's your thing, of course!). I hope I got it right:

And I found a hat to match!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Monkey Magic Yoga Pants

How fortuitous that I enrol in yoga and Spoonflower launches its sports lycra fabric.
And how fabulous is the Monkey World fabric design? See for yourself (please click on each photo to experience it in screen-filling glory):

The fabric design rewards close inspection, with delightful details:

Floating plates of cakes, blue shoes, cake stands and a gilded box.

Thank you to Meggipegg who lent me her Megan Nielsen leggings pattern.

It's funny how you go to so much trouble with pattern placement on the front and sides, only to realise when you've sewn them up that you have double monkey butt.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Mini Pecan Pies

When you really want pecan pies but want small ones!

Choose a shortcrust pastry recipe. I tried Delia Smith's (lard and all) and Smitten Kitchen's (scroll down to "A Great Savory Tart Shell"). They both work. Delia's is more economical, without the egg, and can be made with all butter instead of butter and lard. I made a couple of pans of mini cases; once I rolled out the pastry straight away, cut and fitted it into the pans, then rested it before baking. The next time I rested the pastry first, then rolled and cut it. The second method was slightly more effective.

Use a a mini muffin pan to bake the mini pie shells. Don't have the right sized pastry cutter? Use a glass. Pick one with a rim slightly wider than the size of the mini muffin pan:

The pastry cases spent a week in the freezer before being filled and baked again. Don't bake them too well the first time - leave them very pale:

I used a recipe from for the filling, but as I was filling much smaller pastry cases, I made less filling. For 24 pastry cases you will only need:

17g unsalted butter, chopped
50g brown sugar
50ml golden syrup
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
80g pecan halves

Fill cases with nuts, top with melted and mixed filling, and bake for no more than 10 minutes in a 180 degree oven: