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Friday, November 23, 2012


We've had some stormy weather lately, and after all these years, I finally took my camera out to get some photos. Normally, the storm is upon us fast enough that the rain is here at the same time, but last weekend the storm was far enough away in all directions that we were in the middle with no rain. It was perfect for taking photos. Unfortunately, the lightning was so intense, and I didn't always have the camera settings right, and so many of my photos were completely blown out. There was sheet lightning continually going overtop of me, so any shots of far away lightning were overpowered by the sheet lightning above me. But I still managed to get a few good ones. Night photography is my favorite because of the colours that show up when you look at the film later. I had two night in a row of these storms, and I will try and go out more often from now on.


Cream Cheese Brownies

These were so good. Make them. Recipe here


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Keyhole Blouse

My first project from Gertie's New Book For Better Sewing was the Keyhole Blouse. I did two of the alterations she suggested, which was make a keyhole at the neckline, and also add some gathers at the shoulder. This blouse is so cute with the buttons down the back too. I love it. I also added my own touch, of a tie to help give the blouse a little more shape. I tend to need a belt, or a well fitting shirt, otherwise I lose shape, and look like a balloon. On this alteration, I would suggest changing the button placement. I left it as was in the original pattern, not really thinking, but with this alteration, it doesn't really work. The top gaps open.

I picked out a summery cotton, with some simple embroidery, and a print of tiny little strawberries and flowers. It's been my favorite to wear lately. I wear it with the pants I made, as well as plain shorts.

I did the slash & spread method Gertie talks about in her book to transfer the bust dart to the shoulder where I made gathers. I made a muslin first, to see how the gathers would look & feel. 

Gertie's instructions are great & easy to follow too. I can't wait to work on something new!


Thursday, September 20, 2012

French Silk Frosting

My sister and I would BEG to make this as kids. We loved it. Mainly because we just wanted to eat it on its own. It sure makes a boring cake delicious. I made some cupcakes to snack on after a little charity mud run thing I did a few weeks ago, but after all that baking, NO ICING SUGAR! And too little too late, I didn't even think about this recipe! No cupcakes for anyone (in fact, I threw most of them away). This icing recipe is from my mom who got it from somewhere, who knows, but when I googled it, a blog my Aunt contributes to came up, so it must be in the family :) Here is the recipe.

You can leave it  at room temperature, and it will be very smooth & spreadable, or if you chill it too long like me, you can spoon it out, and it will look like this glob. But, I kinda like this blob, after seeing so many perfectly decorated cupcakes, this is a fun change.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing

The long awaited book has arrived! I ordered it the minute I could, and waited... and waited... and heard about how everyone else got theirs, and how amazing it is. FINALLY, last week, my copy came! And it's everything I knew it would be. I can't wait to get into it, but work has really picked up for me lately, so I am afraid Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing is on hold. At least I am used to waiting :)

I have read through a lot of it, and have two projects picked out for when I have some spare time, so I can dig right in. But I think the bulk of it will have to wait for December, when things will slow down again for me.

I started following Gertie's blog after I broke my ankle & had a lot of spare time. That's when I really got into following blogs & thinking about how I need some serious hobbies. From the first few months, I knew one day, one day, she would have a book, like half of the other creative bloggers out there, and when that day came, I couldn't have been more happy for her (and me!).

This book is a fantastic resource. She has combed through vintage patterns, and written down the easiest ways to follow them, the easiest methods to understanding the techniques, and the modern equivalents to notions that are no longer available, or obsolete. She has done ALL the work for me! And she is inspiring me to create my own patterns, and alterations without fear. I feel like she bridged that gap between the hobbyist sewist and the professional seamstress.

And the illustrations are fantastic, and alone are worth buying the book for.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Colette Violet - 1015

This is Colette pattern Violet, #1015. It's such a cute pattern, and their presentation is also wonderful too! It's a little booklet with easy to understand instructions and illustrations. It's easy to keep on the table next to your sewing machine, unlike those enormous flimsy folding sheets you get in other patterns.

I've seen Colette patterns online, but they are too expensive for me to order with shipping costs to Australia. Then a friend took me to one of her favorite local shops, Piece Together, and lo and behold, they stocked Colette patterns for VERY reasonable prices (which is also rare in Australia). It turned out to be much cheaper for me to buy it in person, than online. Yay!

I picked a peach gingham for my material, and simple floral buttons. I used scraps from the previous blouse I sewed for the peter pan collar. I lengthened the blouse about an inch, but maybe even less -it was already a good length. Using the finished overall bust size as my pattern size, I still needed to take it in on the side seams. I took in about an extra inch at the waist (4" overall), tapering to .5" at the hem, keeping the same width at the arm holes / bust.

Blouses that tend to fit my bust, are too bulky everywhere else. I find it hard to get a flattering fit, but I am learning. Being a little less comfy in loose fitting clothes, does mean I look better overall. I would love to wear muumuus all day long; they hide all lumps & bumps, but I would look ridiculous. Tapering this blouse in at the waist means I don't need to wear a belt, trying to show a waist line. This is also quite casual, so I don't want to have to wear a belt. I am sure there is room for an extra dart or two for a perfect fit, but I am happy overall with the end result. I also used my new serger / overlocker to finish seams and hem, and I LOVE it. First time (machine) sewing button holes too, and they were much simpler than I imagined.

I forgot to take a photo of the yoke on the back. It's subtle, and makes for a nice comfortable fit.

The patterns suggests alterations to make as well, like gathers, pin tucks, etc. I was thinking of adding a more ruffled sleeve, like make it larger, but then gather it with some elastic on the hem. It would be so cute & girly.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Simplicity 4047 - Pants & Blouse

This is such a cute pattern, and, I think, understated. As in, it doesn't SCREAM vintage. It's smart, and vintage looking, but not super obvious, which I like. It's Simplicity 4047, but last time I looked, it was out of print. I got my copy off ebay for about $15.

I sewed a blouse from it over a year ago, and really liked the fabric I chose, but I didn't take any detailed measurements as it was only my second proper sewing attempt and it was too big around & too short... and kind of reminded me of hospital scrubs. I still wear it on occasion, but when I recently sewed another version, I really fell in love. I added FOUR, yes 4, inches in length to this pattern, and sewed a smaller size, and I love it. I also lowered the neckline by about 2 inches, so it didn't feel so hospital-ish. I picked a nice material, and actually spent more than I would normally for fabric, but I am so glad I did. It's a light cotton, with small embroidered flowers on it. Because this fabric was lighter, I used a light-weight interfacing, and also made the neckline interfacing panel a lot narrower, as I didn't want to be able to see through the blouse and have my interfacing so visible. There is also a ring of interfacing along the sleeve edge to give it some shape, but I didn't add it, instead keeping the sleeves loose. They have less shape, but then they also fit nicely into the sleeves of a cardigan, not showing lumps through. I made the sash a few inches longer as well, so I had the option to tie it in a bow.



For the pants, they also fit well in a smaller size (always check finished garment measurements, not what your actual size is. Depending on how you like your clothes to fit, you will probably be a smaller size than the pattern suggests. Sometimes the pattern envelope will tell you the finished garment size, but sometimes those measurement are written on the pattern itself). I decided to use a jeans material, with little stretch. The pants looked to be a little bigger than I wanted, but I cut them out according to the pattern anyhow, just to be sure I knew how the jeans felt, as the material is thick & sturdy. But yep, they were enormous. The waist & hips fit perfectly, but the legs were a lot wider than I wanted. So, I sewed my side seams as the pattern suggested, then pinched in the sides as I was standing up straight. I ended up taking 4 inches on the circumference of each leg, tapering from the knee up to the hips. I took in 1.5" on the outside, and 1/2" from the inside seam to get the 4", and kept a straight line from the knee down. Taking measurements from a natural position (whether you need to add, or take out material) helps the garment sit, or hang, correctly. That is why I didn't take equal amounts off the inside and outside seam, or all 4 inches only out of one seam. The pants, or my body shape, dictated that I needed the excess taken out in different amounts to hang nicely.

So, after a day of sewing, I needed to test out the new threads, and we took our respective modes of transport to a local cafe.


Overall, I am very pleased with the results, and taken out on a test run, everything worked great! I could ride bike, sit & eat, and no seams fell apart :)

(We live near a regional airport & often get to see pilots in training, jets, carriers, all sorts of aircraft. today we got to watch these little guys fly in formation, though I only got the camera out as they were looping back for landing. Supposedly the fighter pilots train in these to practice formation. A few weeks back, I got to watch the new Australian fighter jets come and say hello to the guys in the tower. As much as living near an airport SUCKS, you do get to see some fun stuff every so often).