One Cool Thing/ One Strange Thing swap

Look what the postman brought me! TJ, the instigator and co-ordinator of the One Cool Thing/ One Strange Thing swap sent bonus packets out to each participant which is a truly generous idea. I’d let on that I’m trying to inject some more colour into my wardrobe and this luscious blue green DKNY knit hits the spot beautifully. I’m spoilt for choice of patterns with the Knipmode March 2012 and the special extra included. And it needs to be a pattern that will make the most of the gorgeous button TJ included.

A dodgy photo of the overview page from this Knipmode.


Thank you!! I’m looking forward to finalising my plans for this fabric and revealing the make here on my blog.

PJ Party!

The big reveal for Karen’s Pyjama Party!

I made two pairs of PJ bottoms and 2 tops in preparation for Me-Made-May and also so I could discard the PJ tops that now seem to be wider than they are long as they have shrunk and stretched in the wash.  The paler green stripe is a brushed cotton, the brighter green are snuggly flannellette. I had some green and pink rabbit fabric to use as highlights. The tops I made out of left over cream marle cotton ribbing from when I used to make baby and toddler clothes and sell them at a local market. So that is about 19 years old – and I still have another metre or so left. I know from past experience it will relax widthways so I made sure I put stay tape in the shoulders, and might need to add some to the back neckline. And be prepared to take in the side seams in a couple of months.

Update: I forgot to add that the pattern for the PJ bottoms was traced off a pair of shortie pjs, and the top is a Renfrew cut with extra 1 inch added at each side seam and down the arms. Is there nothing the Renfrew is not useful for???

The odd looking sample photo is included as this was also my first play with Mum’s coverstitch feature on her overlocker. The cream rib needed a little bit of adjustment on the differential feed but otherwise using the coverstitch to do the hems was easy as pie. I’m looking forward to a loan of her machine shortly.

I didn’t have quite enough of the bright green flannellette to cut the legs in one piece. So I created a ‘design feature’ of huge cuffs going the other way. I rather like it!

Karen, you wanted to know what was on my bedside reading pile?

This is the pile next to the bed, nearly all of which should be put away as I’ve finished them.

On top of the pile my kindle in her cover. On that I’ve been working through some samples of books about uncluttering and getting one’s shit together. (note size of rest of pile and you can see it is needed!)

The Stella Rimington was a re-read when I needed something with a good plot which I couldn’t quite remember. Escapism when sick.

Mollie Makes for eye candy. And sussing out cool crafty stuff in case we *do* get to London later this year.

Ken Follett – another re-read to help me sleep.

Christine McCabe – When it’s horrid out – to reconnect with the joy of gardening. Another re-read. Still part way through this.

A notebook for ideas. I prefer graph paper in my notebooks, it makes me think differently to standard lines.

Simple Chic – Japanese dresses by the bed to choose which ones to make. See sticky notes protruding from the top. I want one of each.

Alice Munro – A book of short stories. Recommended. Soft, gentle but heartwrenching.

Peppermint magazine – eco-cool/fashiony/homey. I bought a subscription for a year. Normally when I buy a subscription to a magazine they go out of business withing two years. Sorry Peppermint, I do like you really.

Squished at the bottom – Creative Serging from the local library. Gee, what some people do with overlockers is scary. But the tips for adjusting tension and turning corners are handy.

Now I’m off to put away most of those in their rightful homes.

Autumn Winter sewing plans

Warning: Long post

These collections were the outcome of a recent fabric cupboard perusal. I’ve been feeling a bit directionless, so staring at a cupboard which, to be honest is a bit too full of fabric has contributed to a sense of overwhelm and erratic sewing activity. I thought about what clothes gaps I might have coming into Me-Made-May and also about which garments I am wearing a lot but bored of. (“of which I am bored” for the grammar nazis?)

Activewear - to encourage me to get moving more

From left to right the blues are making some racer back tank tops, the two blacks are for leggings and the stripey cream and khaki will also become a top. I’ve previously made a couple of tops following the Slapdash Sewist’s lead using Jalie 2563 as a base and extending the bodice pieces to  covering midriff. No need for me to scare people before breakfast at the gym. I am working on a pair of leggings with curved seaming which are drafted, cut out and just waiting to be sewn. I’ll have the opportunity to borrow my mother’s overlocker which has coverstitch capability while she’s enjoying herself elsewhere so these garments will be my practice ones to see if I really need a coverstitich machine or it’s just gadget lust.

Activewear Garment count – as many tops and leggings as I can squeeze out of the fabric, probably 3-4 of each sewn in a production line to make it quick. I need to throw out several older pieces of my gym clothes before they finally self-destruct.

Workwear Autumn Winter 2012

I bought a few RTW pieces of work clothing in the middle of last year and some have already worn out. Based on the OWOP week it would appear I also heavily rely on a very, very old black cardigan and a lot of my clothing is grey or black or similar dark tones. As a replacement and to inject some colour, the red is a thick merino doubleknit which I’ve already made up into a semi-self drafted cardigan (photos and writeup to come). The cardigan has simple lines and is a perfect addition to the work wardrobe. The black is a burnout knit that will be made into a useful wrap top, maybe Burda 01/2011 #131? The green ovals knit will be Vogue 8663 in View B below, partly because I already have the pattern. I bought it last year and then couldn’t find any nice knit fabric and forgot about it.

The grey bubbles fabric will be a simple shell top to sit neatly under a cardigan or jacket. Possibly made into the assymetrical cowl from Pattern Magic vol 2 which I have drafted and tested. Last in that line up is some leftover grey wool/poly blend to make a simple pencil skirt. Workwear – 5 garments

Casual Wear

And when I’m not at work, sleeping or sweating? Then what I need is a green corduroy Crescent skirt with some brocade trim at the hem – Done! and I love it. The green merino knit is the same colour in real life  as the cord but comes out quite different in the photo here. Mysterious. That green and the grey merino next to it will be two long sleeved tops – depending on the material I might get a cowl Renfrew, if not, a boatneck style will be the most useful. Next along the line, is my linen lion dress. I bought the lion fabric first as two slightly larger than fat quarter remnants, then matched some orange linen to coordinate. I’ve rejected a few patterns so far, and am toying with Simplicity Lisette 2209 for the cute pleats on the front bodice. But I wonder if I’m being swayed to it by the ruffle on the jacket – lion/ ruffle? There is a similar bodice pleat design to the Lisette dress in a book I bought – How to Use, Adapt, and Design Sewing Patterns by Lee Hollahan. And I’d want sleeves too, even just cap ones so I’m going to be frankenpatterning anyhow. Yeah, and the elephant dress too, although that is more summery in my mind.

Casual – 5 garments

PS: when I showed these photos to my better half he asked where ‘his stuff’ was. The men of the household have a list too. For my husband – a black wool flannel coat (like on Spooks, using the Japanese men’s coats and jackets book), a purple Negroni with Stand Collar addition shirt and perhaps another gym top. And for the son? Some PJs to replace the holey pair he keeps wearing, a blue striped shirt (also Negroni adapted) and a grey merino cardigan/ jumper (style TBD). I’ve got all the fabric and most of the patterns for these too.

Just need a time machine. Although the insomnia is helping :-)

I’d better get sewing!


I’m in!

Pyjama Party

While I’m a bit late to Karen’s Pyjama Party (deadline of this Saturday!), I’m now making my plans public. A few weeks ago I did some planning to simplify my ‘to-sew’ list. I pulled these particular fabrics out of the cupboard to make some PJs.

Pyjama Party Plans

From left to right I have some rabbit highlight fabric, some green stripey flannelette, some stripey light cotton and some grey knit for tops.

Also I’m committing to Me-Made-May for the first time. Last year when I discovered a bunch of sewing blogs, Self Stitched September had just finished and I loved the idea of focussing my sewing enough to make a wardrobe full of options.

Photobucket I, Kirsty of Rocket Sews, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’12. I endeavour to wear at least 50% me-made clothes each day for the duration of May 2012′

I’m not counting shoes, socks and undergarments, and keep an exception open to wear my RTW suit for job interviews. I *am* going to be counting activewear and PJs as part of my commitment though, so each outfit I wear needs to have 50% me-made.

My plan is to take a photo each day and post weekly including to the Flickr group.

Elephant Dress no#3 & 4 & 5?

When I spotted this elephant fabric I knew I needed some.

Elephant Plans

You see, when I was about 19 or so I made a favourite elephant dress out of some lovely soft rayon. Which I wore until it was well past its best. It was white elephants on black background – the sketch is a rough approximation of the design. At Spotlight’s 40%-off sale I saw the white on navy first, then the blue on cream cotton. Also there was a cream on pink on the mountain of stuff waiting to be put away near the counter. I was feeling restrained so only the navy was carted about the store while I made some other selections. While standing in the queue (for about 7 years, I think) my enabler dear friend J agreed that the pink was a good idea (building on a past New Year’s Resolution to “wear more pink”), so I went off to get that. Her visit to the “waiting to be put away mountain of bolts” netted a polar fleece with rabbits printed on it to make a throw rug for her sister. After finally making it to a counter and paying for my treasures, I realised that it would be sensible to also get some blue, just in case. After all, how often have I seen elephant fabric in the intervening years?

Over dinner with my parents I mentioned the excitement of finding fabric to replicate the elephant dress of my late teens and early twenties and Mum looked a bit bemused at my description of colour and fabric. Because, it turns out she was remembering the elephant dress as I had one when I was a lot, lot shorter, probably on a teal background she thinks. Obviously I need an elephant dress in my standard wardrobe!

Now I am well equipped for the next few years. In good company too – Karen of DidYouMakeThat made a Burda elephant top, Winnie of ScruffyBadgerTime has a pink elephant Violet and Roobedoo  made a Lisette elephant  tunic = They’ve all already been wearing their elephant adorned garments!

Lately, my aforementioned friend and fabric purchasing pusher and I have been getting together for Crafternoons to work on sewing projects. J has been working on a present for her sister, a shoulder bag with applique rabbits – a different rabbit and fabric on each side. I learnt that I pin my fabric way less thoroughly than she was taught, and she learnt that pattern tissue won’t burn if you iron it. It’s fun doing stuff together.

Rabbit Bags


OWOP Day 7 and reflections

The final day of One Week, One Pattern was mainly spent on a plane to Alice Springs. To make sure my knot top wouldn’t get gunk on it in transit I changed when I got there. So we are blessed with a photo of my phone in the hotel mirror, apparently missing an arm.

One unexpected bonus of OWOP – a limited range of choices easily answered the ‘what do I wear for a conference presentation’ question!

OWOP Day 7 - a blurry photo of my phone

What else did I learn from OWOP?

  • I really enjoyed putting on a dress the next day – it wasn’t so much I didn’t want to wear the knot tops again, but that I was bored with my bottom half options. Something to consider for wardrobe gap filling.
  • I tend to recycle the same outfits over and over, especially for work.
  • I need a new casual cardigan, and a new work cardigan. The black one I wear continually should have been replaced quite some time ago.
  • I have enough knot tops to take me half way across the country and back.
  • Plain and neutral colours are boring in photos.

A huge thank you to Tilly for all her coordination and enthusiasm about this idea. Oh, and the pie charts too!

Post OWOP – a little sightseeing around Alice Springs

After the conference finished and before my flight home, I walked down very early on Sunday morning to the local market which is held fortnightly. I had a good coffee and waited while the stall holders turned up and set up their stalls.

Silk scarves at the market

The Mekong Silk stall of silk scarves caught my eye and a two-toned one had to come home – it is wide enough and long enough to make a soft gathered or pleated skirt for dressy dinners. The darker colour is like the one in the second column from the left, five from the top – a brick red blending to a medium pink. I’ll use it like a border print. Would go beautifully with my white linen knot top ;-)

I see now from the website that the owner sources her products directly from the weavers in Laos. That makes me feel even better about my beautiful scarf/skirt-to-be.

The Todd River in Alice Springs, Northern Territory.
It’s been a wetter than normal past 18 months apparently, explaining the green growth of the grasses along the river bed. One of the bridges across the river into town was not more than about 20cm/8inches above the sand. I’ve been told it’s rare to actually have water in the river so I was interested to see from the patterns in the sand that there were remaining marks from waterflow. Yeah, and footprints.

Todd River, Alice Springs