things Caity is making

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The girls at the PRDU get together yesterday were rather amazed by my Magic Pattern Book. I must admit, I kind of take it for granted – but their reactions reminded me that others might like to see how I do it!

See, I’m a hopeless pattern-aholic. Seriously. Sometimes I buy patterns just to read the instructions! So obviously I don’t remember all of them. But more importantly – I’m not good at estimating the amount of fabric to buy for a particular design. I know there are common rules to use – twice your length plus this or that – but that often results in having to be rather creative in getting an outfit out of the amount of material available.

So – I either scan (for out of print patterns) or pop over to the pattern company’s website and catch an image of the pattern. Then I stick it in my Magic Pattern Book, and write the amounts of fabric I’ need for my size, and usually any other notions I’ll need. My book is an A5 “visual diary”, available at any office store or newsagents – just blank pages work better for me.

book click to see bigger!

Once I’ve actually made a pattern the idea is to write notes and add swatches of fabric. I don’t always remember to do that! But I did on the left hand side of the page you can see above.

Sue’s version of the book is better organised than mine- she cleverly found a notebook with coloured sections, and has divided heres into the same sort of pattern categories that the Big 4 companies use in their catalogs – tops, skirts, wardrobes, etc.

Meantime, I’ve still lost that koala pattern – methinks there is now a HUUUUUGE Frustration Field in place…

WELL! Yesterday Sue and I ventured down the hill and into the big smoke – and right out of the big smoke again to the faaaaaaaaaar side of BrisVegas. We met up with a bunch of the girls from the Pattern Review Down Under message board – frustratingly, my camera didn’t work, so I can’t show you a picture!!

We started at East Coast Fabrics at Lawnton. A few of us HAD to buy this fabric:
It’s cotton, a good weight for a coat or a skirt, and was only $5.95 a metre!! (That’s my Magic Pattern Book on it for scale – the book is A5, which is 5.8 X 8.3 inches. More on the Magic Pattern Book soon.) I’m thinking it will become either this coat
106(#106 from Burda WOF 4/09 – because I have been in LOVE with this pattern wince I first saw it; and even more so when I saw Anne’s gorgeous floral version!

The other possible pattern is this “Hortensia” coat from Ottobre Spring/Summer 09.
Ottobre Hortensia

We then managed to get lost (It was the Magic Talking Lady’s fault! She kept blanking out her little screen map and tsking at us: “RE-Calc-u-lating!”) and find our way again to Indooroopilly shops, where we had lunch, and a shop at Sckaff’s Fabrics. I was VERY GOOD and though tempted (mostly by their hats!) I didn’t buy anything there – this time!

We were reluctant to say goodbye to the PRDU girls, but were late getting on the road already. Still, we figured a quick stop at Gardam’s (just around the corner from the Indooroopilly shops, after all!) was in order. Sue managed to find exactly what she’d been looking for; and I grabbed this 95% poly/ 5% wool tweedy/herringbone fabric to make a skirt.
poly wool

The trip home was looooooooong! It took us ages to get anywhere – major roadworks combined with the first night of the school holidays left us with plenty of time to put on a CD of ’80s favourites and bop along… two forty-somethings singing “my job is very boring I’m an OFFICE CLERK!” with great gusto, and “air drumming” along with Adam Ant… it passed the time, anyway!

We’d already booked for a girl’s night out with friends from the gym, but I was soooo tired I left early. I did manage to get a leeeetle bit squiffy and attempt to teach my favourite drunk tongue-twisters to a couple of the girls!

Bed day today. If it’s not drizzly tomorrow I hope to get my new fabric washed and the patterns traced – because I neeeeeed a floral coat, don’t you think?!


So there he is, in all his rhinosity! Little Caitlin, who has just had her first birthday, is the Aussie baby of South African parents, and she apparently thinks that his best feature is his handle – otherwise known as a horn!

And his Grandma – who is about to leave for Namibia to lead a safari tour – was UTTERLY thrilled that not only is he a white rhino, but his mouth is in the right place (not all cartoon-y anthropomorphic) and he has authentically short sighted little eyes.

I’m hoping Mum will send photos of the delighted recipient soon!

I HAD intended to make this pattern yesterday or today, from the same very talented designer. Sue and I met Pauline at the Brisbane Stitches and Craft fair, and I think she was worried that I wouldn’t give her sample Rhino back – he was so soft and cuddly!


But I’ve LOST the @&#$(*@& pattern somewhere in my sewing room….

You can also see one of the mouse wrist rest here – I nicked the photo from over on Sue’s blog.


The other one was for our friend V who is recovering from some particularly nasty wrist surgery. (and check out Sue’s gorgeous shirt!)

I’ve been using fairly inexpensive polar fleece (from Lincr*p, if you’re an Aussie – it was about $6 a metre, I think) and I’m surprised how wonderfully these toys (and wrist rests!) turn out.

Bet you didn’t know I used to be a full on cloth doll maker, didja? Ahhh, the dim distant past… my total time from tracing the pattern to tying the bow on the mouse was about 40 minutes. The Rhino was about 90.

There are a few tricks to keep in mind – make sure you shorten your stitch length; trace a stitching line template onto freezer paper and then iron the freezer paper to your fabric (using very low temp for polar fleece) and stitching around that – this avoids having to mark the fabric directly, so there’s no risk of the pattern tracing showing through on a light colour;
(someone gave me a 150 yard roll years ago – I’m only just coming to the end of it!)
and I find the best tool for turning through teeny pointed parts (like the mouse fingers) is a tube about the same diameter as a drinking straw (sturdier plastic if you can get it) and the blunt end of a bamboo skewer assisted by a lockable hemostat (available from medical supply stores quite cheaply.)

Ok – off to find that PATTERN!

He’s for a little girl who’s turning one year old…. Will show more once she’s got him!
(meantime, see more of his friends at Funky Friends Factory)

New (old) skirt

New (old) skirt

So remember a few posts back (before the blog was Hjørsejacked for the nano song) I mentioned I was reworking a skirt?  Here it is.

(As you can see, I still have quite a way to go on getting rid of the tummy *sigh*.  I think I’m doing SO well and then I see a photo of myself and get all discouraged.)

Mr Beloved says this is NOT the most flattering outfit, and he’s right; but at least I have a wearable skirt for a little while.  And the trim is so much fun!


Ribbons (mostly from the stash), some measuring tape (which may have belonged to my Nana – or someone else’s Nana, I do seem to get a lot of inherited craft bits and bobs!) that had suffered an unfortunate accident with a rotary cutter; and a flurry of tulle at the hem. (also unintentional but inevitable trim: small feathers from the cockatiels, cat fur, and poodle hairs.)

Anyway, I’m happy with it, it’s a fun skirt to wear, and even though I ended up pretty much remaking the darn thing from scratch, it was worth doing.  PLEASE tell me honestly what you think of the skirt!!

(if you’re interested, the review is here on Pattern Review)

Now if only the new Ottobre Woman magazine would come so I could make some other patterns up….

Meanwhile, I’m off the to the gym for Pilates class.  I went to the physiotherapist (again) today and he worked out that I have some residual nerve damage from my glorious ankle twist of mid January… also that I have long-standing issues with my C6-C7 neck joint which are in fact the cause of some of my wrist weakness and pain. Huh!  I also have ulna/radius joint weakness as well, so it’s lost more rehabilitation exercises for me and even more phsyiotherapist appointments… it never ends!!  Who knew that hyper-flexible joints were such a problem?

YES! We’re having some lovely rain again today. There is NOTHING as good as hearing rain on a tin roof.

Well, it’s Tuesday, so it must be quilters day, yes?


I had a lovely time at what Mr Beloved cheekily refers to as “playgroup” – that’s more accurate than he knows! Honestly, I go to quilters for the company and the opinions and the chatter. Any actual hand sewing I get done is a bonus. Today I only managed to applique down one 5 inch circle, but ooooh, I had fun!

(I decided to take a different project today, even though I’d packed “Tuesdays and TV” ready to go. Having just finished Mum’s late Christmas/early Birthday pressie, I thought I’d better get a wriggle on with Dad’s.)Perfect for my almost pre-war Dad, yes?

I don’t think Dad reads the blog (I know Mum does, HI MUM!) so I can show you the fabric I was appliquéing. I could only buy 1.5 metres when I first found this print; foolishly, I thought it might be enough. Then my quilt plans changed and I decided to get all complicated and I desperately need more. (Which I HOPE, fingers crossed, I might have found on eBay… Emerald City Fabric and Crafts have been very good to me so far…)

SWOON I adore this paisley!

AND – happiness! I’ve been looking for green paisley fabric to make best friend M a Miranda bag – isn’t this just PERFECT?

The black background will really work well with free motion quilted plain black fabric – I can see more King Tut thread in my future – maybe #936 “Pharaoh’s Treasure ( “Red, med green, dark green, gold”) or my favourite (three 500 metre reels used so far this year) #910 “Bulrushes” (“brown, light sage, tan, dark sage” – this is the one I initially bought because I though the green and ochres were perfect colours for quilting Australian bush scenes.)

Dang! Somehow it has gone after midnight. I’m for bed and more of that lovely rain on the roof.

OH!  Meant to say I got Baby Pfaff (the 2034) back from the repairer today.  Dale at Downs Sewing Machine Repairs -he’s worth every cent –  that baby is purrrrrrrrrrrrrring! Makes the Goddess Pfaffalina’s trip to see him just that more urgent… I’d forgotten how smooth those machines SHOULD sound!

When did you last have your machine serviced, hmmm?