Monday, October 31, 2016

A Finish is Better than a Start... sometimes!

I love starting new projects, LOVE it.

I love ideas and the thrill of starting, planning, strategising.

Finishing... not so much. The end of anything - washing the dishes through to bibliographies is the bit that does me in. Surprisingly, I do actually finish most of my projects - even though the very end part is the toughest for me, there are often threads left hanging!

Quite some time ago I made a couple of quilt tops from vintage sheets. I finished one straight away and the other one has just followed me around for a few years. Recently I sat myself down and took some of Deb's advice - a finished quilt keeps people warm - an unfinished one doesn't!! (She says it more eloquently than that).

I grabbed a lovely vintage woollen blanket my mama bought me and some thread and stitched it in diagonal lines. Bound it with some quilt binding and 'et viola! Done.

Now it sits on my growing quilt pile in the lounge for friends to snuggle under by the fire.

love you more than a vintage quilt xxx

Friday, October 28, 2016

Whoop I Made Some Um-er-alls McCalls 7551

Tena Koutou,

When Bounce was a wee fella he used to say Um-er-alls instead of overalls - which is totally a word I adopted into my vernacular.

A while ago I saw a photo of the designer of the little wooden hoops I've made necklaces from and she was wearing a fabulous pair of half length, loose denim umeralls.

I decided on the spot I too should have a pair - as you do. Or perhaps, as I do!

While out op-shopping recently (this is clearly a theme in my life. Although this blog makes it sound much more frequent than I think it is) I found a pattern for 50c. It's a McCalls pattern 7551 - unsurprisingly I couldn't find anyone who'd made them on the interwebs (perhaps I'll start a trend!).

When I got home I found a piece of denim that was just large enough and I set about whipping myself up a pair. I was severely tempted to abandon ship at the thought of sewing 7 button holes in denim, thankfully a light-weigh denim, but I persevered.

Now I have a pair of definitely less flattering but I am certain - significantly cheaper - the only thing I purchased for this make was the pattern at 50cents - umeralls.

SO comfy. Yes I have worn them out in public, thanks for asking. I feel they are something I will have some fun with even if they aren't doing me any particular favours.

What have you left the house in recently when comfort superseded style?

Flip and Bounce took the photos - these were the 'best' of a questionable selection!

love you more than a programmed buttonhole xxx

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Little Houses Augusta Hoodie

Sup lovelies?

So I saw the Augusta pattern by Named clothing and loved the idea of a pink and blue number, just like their one. Now there are a lot of Named groupies in the interwebs... (my sister pretty much loves every.single.pattern they make) in terms of their usual look I'm not actually a groupie, the Named aesthetic is not really a Miriam aesthetic!

However,  I did love this design and duly purchased the pattern. (A paper version rather than a PDF - because less work!) I sadly discovered not only is the pattern layered, meaning I have to trace it off it also doesn't include the seam allowance.... what the what?!? (Even weirder they do put the seam allowance on their PDF patterns... ummmm, right?) - In their defence their website does state this information but I was shopping with my eyes not my brain at the time!

This meant when it arrived, and I realised, I essentially groaned at the purchase and threw the pattern straight into the naughty corner.

One day when my sew-er sister was over she saw some fab house fabric in my stash and convinced me this was the fabric to use to make the Augusta. I spent 2 sessions of 'sewing time' tracing off the pattern and measuring out the seam allowance - grumbling like a petulant toddler the whole time - I'm really awesome like that.

As a sew-er who really doesn't love the process of cutting out the pattern and the fabric, this process is basically a deal breaker for me. (sorry, Named patterns tracing and seam adding is was 2 straws too many for this particular camel).

Having whinged for so long on this post I LOVE this hoodie. I like that it has the piping on the sleeve, the raglan sleeves, the lined hood, the cute welt pockets and the ribbing.

The pattern came together really well and it has a nice mix of slightly more complex elements - like the welt pockets - with mostly simple construction.

I lined the hood in some fab vintage floral fabric that has been floating around in my stash for longer than I can remember. I love the juxtaposition. Instead of closing with snaps I sewed popper domes into it and then added decorative buttons from an op-shop. Super pleased with that decision.

It hits a mark for me which I find hard - dressed up I can do, but 'fun casual' is something I need more of in my wardrobe.

Am I going to make this pattern again, yes definitely, it is a great pattern. I may have already purchased material for the next one, and pre-washed it! Look at me!

Will I buy another paper pattern from Named? Probably not, unless they start adding seam allowance to their patterns. Is this a great loss for them? Not at all, they have hoards of adoring fans (my sister may take top spot) who clearly don't give a rip about their approach to pattern printing. Also they are designing in a way that ticks the boxes for a LOT of people that aren't me.

Finally, these photos were taken by The Atlas at the national dog show - this wasn't an outing I picked but my children and husband LOVED it. (The agility section was actually quite fun to watch - especially when the dogs completely ignored their owners and did their own thing!)

and the falling down sunnies in the pictures - urgh, what can I say? Clearly The Atlas thinks I am so gorgeous he fails to see these things (that's the story I'm telling myself - and him!).

love you more than a runaway dog with a smile on his face and an owner chasing after xxx

Monday, October 24, 2016

Maison Fleur Neon Spotty Top


Remember I made the little top from a 60s curtain and I wished the buttons were on the front rather than back?

This is the op shop version. I found this small piece of black with yellow neon spots in my local oppy for about $1 from memory.

I decided to put a pink zip into the side seam - because, pink zip! This time I made the 12 rather than the 14 and it feels like a better fit.

The buttons are some vintage ones from my button tin(s), ahem.

I love this top and have had heaps of wear of it. I'm one of those people who pretty much always feels hot (this did not serve me well in Adelaide!) but as a teacher, and let's be honest a woman in her late 30s with a generous upper body, wearing strappy tops for work or most outings isn't really a look I want to rock.

This does all the things it's cotton, so nice and cool. Structured and bare arms for coolness.


My awesome sister took these photos - I am in love with these white Doc boots (I bought them in Adelaide, to help me cope with the heat!?!)

love you more than a neon polka dot xxx

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Non-Lamppost Narnian Light

Kia ora koutou,

If you know me long you'll soon know how much I love books, especially children's books and I have an extra special place in my heart for the Narnia series by C.S Lewis. Bounce and I are currently reading The Horse and His Boy together.

Because I love these books so much I often grab them when I see them at an op-shop so we can lend them without worrying about losing them, or we have also given them to little friends from time to time as well. All this to say, when I needed to replace a lamp shade I decided to cut up a version of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, but I hold strongly to the 'books are friends, treat them with care' philosophy of life. (My bank account supports this statement).

We found this red lamp cover in an op-shop recently which was great because I was struggling to find them in a shop.

I used a kitchen glass to draw circles on the pages and cut them out while visiting friends (we haven't been invited back since... I'm pretty sure I'm not to blame...).

Hot glue gun, plus circles, plus my usual make-it-up-as-you-go approach. Et voila! Narnian lamp which makes the whole room glow red when it's on.

Ahhhh... literary lighting for less than $5? Yes please.

love you more than handmade lighting xxx

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

An Irish Pixie

Hey Friends,

Well you may remember I mentioned a wee while ago that my sister and I had a major op-shop fabric win. Today's sew is also made from that haul and it's another green item!

This is a Pixie coat (I made one last year) from Lisa of Twig + Tale. I really love this coat - it's totally easy to throw together and this is the second one I've made myself as well as 3 little people versions.

I'm assuming this fabric is wool and there was plenty of it in my haul to make this hooded coat. The gorgeous lining was a gift from a lovely lady we house sat for in April. The buttons are from my stash and remind me of melted lollipops.

You'll notice that I am wearing the famous poopy pants in these shots as well (anyone would think I liked them!) this was actually my final make for Indie pattern month at The Monthly Stitch. This was the one and only time those pants were worn by me. The coat however has had all sorts of exciting outings over the winter and I know it will be a firm favourite.

You may or may not notice there are patch pockets on the front of the coat that I painstakingly pattern matched across the plaid so they are almost invisible. Yay me!

Due to the fact I already had the pattern, buttons, thread and was given the lining the total cost for this little winner was probably about $3! I call that a win.

love you more than bright green xxx

Monday, October 17, 2016

Maison Fleur plus and Old Curtain equals top!

Hiya lovelerlies,

I've had this fabric in my stash for a long time (it waited patiently in a box of 'special fabrics' for 2 years while we were in Aus). I'm pretty sure it's an old curtain. It had some curtain tape type thing along one side. The rest of it acts like a heavy cotton or flexible linen.

I really enjoyed using this Maison Fleur pattern which I won recently. At the beginning the pattern runs through the sewing sequence in bullet points which means if you are an experienced sewist you could essentially just follow that. Other than that it’s very step by step, good explanations and illustrations. It’s a PDF pattern with layered options so you can just print the size you want.

This top was so quick and easy to throw together but includes good techniques like under stitching and the zip is inserted into the side seam running downwards.

My favourite feature of this pattern is the little shoulder flaps with buttons, view 2. Initially I thought the button flaps were on the front (which I definitely plan to do another time!). I let my 2 sick children – yes I was finishing this whilst dealing with 2 vomiting children! – choose the buttons from my button stash and they chose these lovely ones.
Full disclaimer – the flaps are actually supposed to have button holes and buttons but as they don’t need to open to get the top on and off I didn’t see the point of creating button holes through the layers of quite thick fabric – so I just sewed the button on through all the thicknesses.

I cut a straight size 14 – falling in between the 12 and 14 on the pattern measurements. In all I think I probably could have made the 12 I find it a really nice shape on and not clingy anywhere. I will definitely make this top again. As a more tailored top option it is so easy to make and very user friendly in terms of instructions and pieces.

Also, I love it much more than the 'poopy pants' (see my last post) I am wearing it with. So there's that too! 
love you more than realising the potential of a 'precious' piece of fabric xxx

Friday, October 14, 2016


Kia ora e hoa ma,

Sometimes in making world the vision and the outcome seem to be speaking different languages! My sister (whose blog is filled with handmade clothing, especially pants!) is the master of wearing pants and separates... I on the other hand seem to have fallen hard into the dress category.

In an effort (which is ongoing) to diversify I decided to have a go at some pants using a gorgeous yellow fabric I got from Deb.

I used Sew Simple's classic trouser pattern.

The result?.. meh.
You know I am an over-sharer right? It's not even close to perfection here all the time!

They're not really me, they're a bit 'poopy' round the back and I'm not convinced I'll wear them. I made the waistband the wrong size and the fabric isn't working for me.

So, I gave them to said sister, she hacked them around a bit to fit her better and the other day sent me a pic of herself wearing them.

Let's call this an accidentally selfless sew and try a different trouser style next time? Deal? (also, I will introduce you to the top on my next post).

love you more than a redeemable project xxx

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Origami Cranes Dress


I made this dress as part of Indie Pattern Month at the monthly stitch. When I saw this fabric in spotlight I almost did a full swoon. The colours the birds.... ahhh me.

It was one of those usual wonderful spotlight experiences where you wait in a queue 7 people deep while three people are at the counter, but only one is serving. If I hadn’t been so in love with the fabric and it wasn’t 30% off fabric day I might have given up in disgust. (An event I have seen happen to others on a semi-regular basis in spotlight).

I made this dress using 2 patterns, the Ruby dress bottom by Simple Sew and the Belladone top by Deer and Doe.

In the original dress I used an exposed zipper (which you seen in the photos). It undid itself at church during its first outing. In the end I took it out and changed it to an invisible zip - which looked awesome, until it popped open in the middle (also during church!).

Finally this dress now sports a plan old ordinary zipper which so far has not let me down!

I lined the pockets in some offcuts of a navy broadcloth I used for another Ruby dress that I made with an op-shopped lace curtain. I whipped out some turquoise pom-pom trim for the hem – because my clothing mantra is clearly ‘more is more’.

Here's to sewing dresses and making clothes and overcoming huge frustrations while in spotlight queues! (I'm sure it's good for my character)

love you more and an origami bird xxx

Monday, October 10, 2016

Eep... I made a bodysuit!

Hi Babes (this post is not for the dudes!),

Remember that awesome fun we had in the 90s with body suits and over sized jeans? (my 'homie' days - although I am that uncool I'm not actually sure is it homey or homie?)...

So I now find myself trying out a body suit!

The idea of something that works well under things is the 'right' length for tucking in and doesn't ride out of its tuck in half way through the day won me over. Also, popper crotch so no nudity for toileting!

This pattern is the same 'Nettie' from Closet Case files I used for the last 2 dresses. The body suit was rather more complicated. The snapper crotch – in blue polka dots for a little undercarriage joy – caused much head scratching. The lining pieces are rectangle but the pattern asks you to iron them into a square, and then fold them lengthways? I read and re-read and eventually once I got to it it all worked fine…. I’m not sure if it was my problem or that the pattern seemed kind of obtuse?

You’ll be pleased to see I have modelled it, in all its (my) glory. Are there rewards for bravery? or consequences for over sharing??! I am even like a proper little 7 year old ballerina with my knicker bands poking out the bottom on one side!

I like the low cut leg line and the bands feel comfy – not too lose, not too tight. The low leg line also means you’re never going to get leg line hanging over the top of a waistband either.
Obvs, with this kind of wear the undergarments are important too – one wants to avoid too many lines… not sure I’ve nailed that yet.

With this pattern it’s really important to use a stretch stitch throughout, (you can straight stitch the top stitching on the neck if the scoop is deep), because every seam needs to have some give.
love you more than a polka dot popper crotch xxx