Other Sewing Projects

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OI! Hello! It's meeeee!

OI! Hello! It's meeeee!

Hello! It’s me, Caity!  Shocking you as I reveal the alarmingly unflattering arms-length self portrait to show you my even shorter hair and new green framed glasses!  Wooooo!

Yep, that is grey at the temples there.  The pink just fades too darn fast, so I’m going BLONDE next.  At the next haircut.  And I finally got to see my waxer today, so I’m no longer auditioning for any roles as “grotesquely bearded lady” – just “slightly spotty” one.  And given how NONE of you wanted to hear about my facial hair woes mentioned in the last post, I’ll just leave that there, eh?

Sewing: ummmmm – well, I’m going to Gardam’s to order velvet tomorrow after gym… does that count? And I’m planning on rethreading the @*&#!)&*(# overlocker (serger) tonight and replacing the needle that broke right before I went on holidays.  Provided the front room has cooled down some – our wee hoose has no insulation and the temp got up to 36 degrees INSIDE today. That’s 95 F… hot for Toowoomba, but nowhere near the summer scorchers of my childhood.

(In primary school in Dubbo, we all FERVENTLY believed that when the temperature outside reached 46 degrees (115F) we’d be allowed to go home.  I have no idea if it was ever true, but I do remember when the temperature sat at 44 or 45 degrees for weeks and we’d have our classes outside under trees instead. Back in my day, sonny, we didn’t HAVE aircon at school…)

And I will confess to ordering a couple of new Vogue patterns: I like this one from Sandra Betzina especially.


Once my stupid swelly belly problem is a bit more sorted, I’ll sew up some skirt patterns… in the meantime, it’s just easier to wear loose dresses and tshirts with jeans.

Quilting: After quite a long hiatus I actually feel inclined towards making some fibre/quilt art.  I’ve been so out of that loop that I haven’t even read the last few issues of Quilting Arts… horror! And I’ve let my subscriptions to most of the other magazines lapse.  In their most recent email, though, there were some books coming out this year that looked worthwhile…including this one by Melanie Testa:melanie-testa

Doesn’t that look inspiring?

And now I really need to go and get settled for sleep.  I’m trying a new gym class in the morning and I’m feeling very nervous…

… but for now, I’m still so thrilled with myself every time I get there!

I’m especially loving this Oxigeno class thing – did it Monday morning and I can still feel muscles waking up from their 20 year long sleep. “Hey! WHAT?! You want us to do WHAT?!?”

Not painful sore, just – yeah, I worked out, ooooch.

Skipped yesterday because I was SUPPOSED to have a full schedule of appointments.  Now, I HAD been syncing my phone with my computer before I switched to a Linux box (which I love)…but when I got back from my holiday something weird had happened to all my appointments in my phone. OH NOES!

I got to my first appointment for the day ok (the gynaecologist, see him again in three months if this new medication works) because that was written on the calendar in the kitchen.  But – embarrassingly – missed the next two, which I thought were an HOUR LATER than the booked time… oh dear.  I blame the auto time updater on my phone.

So – I have gone back to good ol’ low-tech writing stuff in a diary, dammit! I bought one that is a very pretty blue -called “aqua” by the manufacturer, but in reality darn close to Tiffany blue (a girl can dream eh?)

Low tech, but it works!

Low tech, but it works!

So – re-booked appointment with the waxer (have I mentioned recently my struggles with chin hair? If not, remind me later, I’m sure you’ll all be RIVETED…) and the hairdresser. The lovely pink of a few weeks ago has faded to a dull – hmmm, brownish pinkish? on top, and a purpley-pink for the rest.

I may yet shave it all off and start over – or get white blonde highlights – or go black and red… it’s only hair, after all!

Gym today again – I can’t believe how rotten I feel before I go (“mumble grumble, bed, tea, mumble OH NO MR BELOVED, NOT THE FROZEN SPINACH I’M GETTING UP, REALLY!!!”) and how good I feel afterwards.

But now – I must go clean off the table to trace out a pattern.

Jalie Lounge Pants Pattern

Jalie Lounge Pants Pattern

The annoying thing is that – even with the weight loss I’ve already achieved – the only workout clothes around seem to be for TEENY WEENY (already fit? Grrummph) people.  It’s not like I even want anything fancy – and I *know* I can sew it – but it’s finding the right sort of fabrics in retail amounts that’s difficult.  And I’m not even talking technical/performance fabrics that do fancy things like wicking, oh no – just plain decent quality knits with a bit of body, that’s all I’m after.  Oh, and in just about any other colour than “grey marle”- was whoever invented THAT having a bad day or what? Is there any (non)colour more depressing?

Must get on with the day….

First day doing gym by myself.  I asked the trainer yesterday about the quietest times, and she was spot on – no waiting for machines (I only know how to use two!) and no gawkers.

I think I’m getting the hang of the treadmill  it sound totally woossy to admit it, but DANG that thing scared me yetsterday!  I was white-knuckled at 2.2kms per hour.  Which is S—L—-O—–W!  Today I was more confident, even played about with the incline settings, and got comfortable walking at 5kms per hour.  Still much slower than I walk outside, but a big leap in confidence.

So  – I did an hour of weights/stretches/pilates/treadmill.  All at a very low level, but…I’ll get there.

The gym equipment looks quite a roomful of angular monsters with bright orange mouthparts! *chomp chomp chomp*  I think it would all look much more civilised as a steampunk gym… all brass dials and gleaming ebony – don’t you?

I have a question though: my iriver MP3 player is NOT a fancy beastie.  Basic black with white ear thingies (Dontcha love it when I talk all TECHNICAL!)

And so there are no super duper fancy schmancie armbandy thingummies  to buy to fit it  – and even if they were, I seriously doubt they’d fit around my arm.

– So  – does anyone else have suggestions for how to make something to hold the thing?  The gym music is okay but there are times when I don’t want to listen to “doontz doontz doontz doontz”…. (as I write this I’m listening to Mercy by Duffy – awesome – and appropriate for gym perhaps!)

So I’m thinking a cuff/sleeve MP3 holder, with velcro maybe?  Hmmm.


Duffy - AWESOME voice!

And I’m back to my food diary.  Tedious, but necessary.

Poor Connie J. Woodle was so excited that I was wearing shorts/t/walking sneakers… and then CRUSHED when I told her I was going to gym not to take her for a walk!  I’ll take her later to make up for it – but geesh, that disappointed puppy face – I felt like the world’s cruellest Mum!

Right.  Off to hang the washing and think about tackling …. THE SEWING ROOM ARCHAEOLOGY PROJECT…

Now, as I may have previously mentioned, I am in the process of trying lose weight and get healthy.

BUT for some time now I’ve been stuck.  On a plateau.  Frustrated.

And we all know why, don’t we, boys and girls?

Yep – simple equation that even your math challenged blogonaut here can figure out:

To lose weight: Energy OUT must be greater than Energy IN.

And even on as low as 1200-1400 calories a day – allegedly below the amount needed to fuel my resting metabolic rate – the weight isn’t shifting.  Plus I HATE how I look. Really hate the extra padding. And the painful joints and all the other miseries of being so overweight. (Yes, I’ll probably still have joint pain, that’s the nature of arthritic diseases, but putting less load on the bendy bits will help.)

And I know I don’t have to look like I do.  I know I can be healthy at a much smaller size – ideally, about 40-45 kilograms less than what I currently weigh. (That’s 88-99 lbs less than now.) When I was younger I looked like this:

Caity in 1968

Caity in 1968

AHEM!  Let’s be a leeeeeeeeeeeeeeetle more realistic now…

Caity in 1991

Caity in 1991

This was in 1991. Which means I was 23.  Now, while I don’t NECESSARILY want to be as thin as this, (and it is, after all, *mumblety* years later) I reckon I can go a lot closer to looking like THAT than I am now.


My dear friend Sue has been encouraging me to join the gym for some time now.  She’s worked hard to get trim and toned – and she looks great.  So  – I have my fitness assessment TOMORROW!  I’m so excited!

No big lock-in contracts, no poseurs – just a nice clean friendly gym. Run by nice people.  And a lovely  personal trainer I will work with  once a fortnight. And a goal for the year: 20 kgs less than I am now, with much improved fitness and sleekness!  I think that’s reasonable and achievable.

All the specialist doctors I see have been encouraging me to go for it – Mr Beloved is STRONGLY supportive – and my Mum and Sister-In-Law have weight loss goals for this year, too.

I know there will be days when I try to pike out – but I’m DETERMINED TO DO THIS.

(Just – if I do slack off – give me a gentle kick and tell me to get back in there, ok!)

So: tomorrow is full of good stuff.  Psychologist appointment, then the gym ,then I pick up my new spectacles and prescription sunglasses.  Oh, and I get to order  the silk/rayon velvet I need for my S-I-L’s bolero – good on Gardam’s, they’ve come through for me yet again!

Eunju and Mum outside Glynburn Fabrics, Firle, Adelaide

Eunju and Mum outside Glynburn Fabrics, Firle, Adelaide

Had a lovely time this morning playing in the local fabric heaven – Glynburn Fabrics.  Their store is just a TREASURE cave!  We found fabric to make Eunju her “Audrey” dress (she loves Audrey Hepburn’s style, and this dress pattern will look gorgeous on her)

New Look 6723

New Look 6723

as worn by the Divine Audrey in “Sabrina”


And because I couldn’t resist: this wonderful heavy cotton in cream, red, orange and brown (I KNOW, not supposed to be my colours, but it’s just so FUN!)

Very Caity Fabric!

Very Caity Fabric!

Also shown = some cream pre-made satin bias binding, because that makes the neckline and armhole finishing so quick…

So – just an final check of the tissue fit for Ju’s pattern (we did the FBA last night, and shortened the waist length) and a quick iron and we’re off!

No pics yet – I keep forgetting to take my camera!  So far a lovely time with family,  it’s embarrassing how much sleep I need 🙁

Went to Ikea today – oh, I LOVE Ikea!!  Saw a bed that would be perfect – but mostly I’m in deep desperate LOVE with a their clever storage solutions.  And this table and chairs set: Oh, to not have to eat dinner on my lap – really, that’s not too much to want from civilisation, is it?


Haven’t found the good fabric shops yet… but I did buy some cheap 100% cotton at Ikea for another version of the trapeze dress – $3.99 metre!

My brother and his family live in the inner east of Adelaide, which is very beautiful.  lots of old stone houses, leafy trees, and the river just a short walk away.  Bidgee the Border Collie takes me for a walk every day to play “Stick in river” – not a complex game, here are the rules:

Tell dog to find a stick! FIND A STICK!

Throw stick in river.

Dog dives fearlessly into river, retrieves, and races past you with the stick, dropping it anywhere from 20 to 50 metres away (this is the human exercising feature of the game)

Repeat until either a) too dark to see river, dog, or stick or

b) your arm falls off.


I miss Mr Beloved A LOT, and have to speak on the phone to Constance J. Woodle each day, but I’m having a lovely time.

Here at Chez Beloved, we’re fighting a (losing) battle against these rotten little buggers:

!)@*(#&@*& PANTRY MOTH!!

!)@*(#&@*& PANTRY MOTH!!

They are EVERYWHERE.  And it’s going to be very expensive to get rid of them – not because it’s an expensive process per se – just some pheromone based traps from the supermarket, and a good wipe down of everything – but because you have to THROW OUT EVERYTHING THAT MIGHT BE INFESTED.

Oh sure, some of the food can be frozen, that kills the blighters. Unfortunately, even though we have an insanely large fridge/freezer, there is NO space in the freezer section at all.

So MOST things  –  like flour, spices, rice, pasta, etc etc etc – basically anything not in a TIN (although I believe the moths are secretly breeding a mutant SUPERMOTH to even get around that difficulty) have to be tossed.  *fume*



And the moths are, of course, in my sewing room as well.  Which is why my grabbing the lidless can of this

Spray Starch

Spray Starch

and attempting to spray it around the room -INSTEAD OF THIS



was inevitable.

However, those moths have the CRISPEST, MOST CREASE FREE WINGS you ever saw…..


Ok, just so we’re clear, I don’t mean THIS Pink -(tho I LOVE her!)


Yep, I was bored at the hairdressers today – bored with being grey.  So – if I’m going to colour my hair, I thought, why not COLOUR it?!

Pink! I like PINK!

Pink! I like PINK!

And although the weight loss is still slowed waaaaaaaaay down, I’m feeling better about it and back to counting calories.  I thought you needed to see me posing in front of our suburb’s emblem: the abandoned car surrounded by unmown lawn.  CLASSIC!

AND – I had the NICEST thing happen to me today!  You know I just ADORE our local fabric heaven, Gardam’s, right?  Well, I went in to pick up a layby (pics to follow soon, I promise) only to have the lovely manager hand me an envelope and explain that it was a gift certificate from Mr and Mrs Gardam!  YOU COULD HAVE KNOCKED ME OVER WITH A FEATHER!

Of course I spent it immediately on more yummy fabric, LOL!  Seriously, their store has the best service and fabric – there were some young things in there today making choices for bridesmaid dresses and I promise you, these would NOT be  “Bridesmaid Dresses” – you know, the ones that are so unspeakably awful that you look at the photos and cringe – no, these girls were playing with  gorgeous silk chiffons over some luxe duchess satins – soooo pretty!

And now I must go and retrieve my new fabric from the washing machine – by the time Miss Constance and I get back from our walk, it will be ready to iron, cut out and sew – wheeeeeeeeeeee!! Another iteration of the fabulous trapeze dress from McCall’s 5583, this time in a rayon/poly/nylon blend that has an interesting (almost looks like velvet but it’s not) texture in black – prefect in case I get to go out some evening on holidays.  And now I know that dress doesn’t need a zip, it’s even quicker to make.

… starting with a new therapist.  I had my first appointment today.

Now just a firm twist to the RIGHT and....

Now just a firm twist to the RIGHT and....

I’ve seen a LOT of different doctors about my messy brain.  I’m even seeing yet ANOTHER new one (psychiatrist – today’s was a psychologist) next week.

I am, however, hopeful.  Not least because this new bloke makes sense.  Which is not a given, in the head shrinking field.  We shall see.  Maybe I’m at a point now where I can actually address the issues.


Here’s a novel concept (and pretty much the focus of this therapy): Anxiety is not inherently a Bad Thing.

I remain sceptical.  But I can’t go on doing what I’m doing because IT’S NOT WORKING.  So we shall see.

In other news: I’m off to tissue fit and try to make this:

McCalls 5664

McCalls 5664

The reviews have been mixed over on Pattern Review – I’m not sure how the engineering works, but it seems that if a garment wraps from the front to the back, then the front rides up.  I have fabric for two versions: white with a red and white sash, and blue with a black sash.

And if I’m going to get it cut out tonight, I need to stop faffing about online and go do it!

Simplicity 2981 again!

Simplicity 2981 again!

Proper post to follow – but I thought I’d show you The Dress – sewn yesterday!

Not bad, hey?  The cotton was jsut a DREAM to work with – I will finish the Dress from Polyester Hell, but not just yet.

Do you like my hat?

I love hats!

I love hats!

My hat - made last night!

My hat - made last night!

I was inspired to try the zipper roses by Outsapop Trashion – a Finnish girl who makes gorgeous stuff from zippers.  I bought the shell (?base? the sinamay straw shape thingummy) at Spotlight; covered it with a double layer of black silk organza, and then used separating jacket zippers to make the roses.  A few ribbon leaves and fripperies, some black veiling – ta da!!

Karen, Caity, and Sue at the lunch

Karen, Caity, and Sue at the lunch

And now I think I’ll just go have a little nap – the wine was lovely but now I’m REALLY TIRED!

Simplicity 2981 again

Simplicity 2981 again

I am three-quarters of the way through the next version of The Dress.  This time in black polyester fabric I bought for $5 a metre.


Woven polyester fabric.  Very PRETTY woven polyester fabric, black with little white spots. At a price I couldn’t resist.

Now, what are the three words we need to remember about polyester fabric, if I should EVER EVER EVER attempt to make anything else from this  hellish material?


(Also, it frays if you so much as look at it wrong. Into teeny weeny very pretty thread snarls that look just like guinea feathers, except are nowhere near as useful.)

(OMG! Just found a shop I could spend most of a lotto win at – Millinery Suppliers!  WOOOOOOT! *wanders off singing “heaven… I’m in heaven…*)

AHEM!  Back to the business at hand:  I bought the fabric from HELL. Straight from Stan’s loom , I tell ya!

Which is why, at 7 pm on Sunday night, I’m just starting to cut out version THREE, in cotton (oh cotton, how I love you!).  Remember I want to wear this on TUESDAY. And I have a hat to trim , too. Last time it took about 2 hours to cut (but that was horrible slippery fabric – oh yeah, I forgot to mention – polyester’s SLIPPERY! and I had to mark every piece carefully with right and wrong side, because there was a subtle but noticeable difference…)

Right. Back to it!  Just promise me, dear readers, PROMISE ME, that if I so much as LOOK at el cheapo polyester woven fabric again, you will take me by the hand and repeat those three words:  Polyester. Doesn’t. EASE!!

My Bestest Sewing Buddy, Sue,  is having a giveaway on her blog– this fabbo issue of Burda World of Fashion Magazine!

Burda July 2008

Burda July 2008

Get over there before November 5 and answer her question, ok!

So I’ve been struggling with this dress… but I think it’s worth it! Mr Beloved thinks it’s “classy” and my bestest sewing buddy deemed it flattering and pretty… it certainly wasn’t a quick project.

Simplicity 2981
Simplicity 2981
Simplicity 2981
Simplicity 2981

I sewed from Simplicity 2981, which was released some time ago as a Khaliah Ali  Plus size pattern (18W to 24W, and 26W to 32W). I noticed that a smaller  version (6-14  and 14-22) of the exact same dress was put out under the Threads Magazine Collection label as Simplicity 3877 a while back.

I made the shorter length with collar and short sleeves (view B or view D, depending on the pattern you’re using.)  The instructions do warn that you must decide on your finished length before you cut the fabric -I shortened the skirt length by 2″. There is no provision for above waist adjustment on the pattern (but that shouldn’t deter you – get a copy of Fit For Real People and go for it!) I’m long waisted so I lengthened the top by 1″ – in retrospect, I could have even gone 2″. (This might sound odd – why did I shorten AND lengthen? Well, because I needed a flattering skirt length and for the waist to actually reach my waist!)

Can I just say that the pattern instructions SUCK?  I mean, really suck.  They were confusing and the illustrations made things even more muddled. Even though I’d read through the pattern, it took me a while to work out when to attach the second tie of the sash. The jumping backwards and forward in the instructions really threw me, too.

The zipper goes in almost LAST, which is not at all helpful – it makes getting a nice finish even more difficult. I was also undecided up to the last moment about whether to use an ordinary zipper, hand picked (not machine sewn) or an invisible zipper.  I knew an ordinary machine applied zipper was not what I wanted, even though it’s in a side seam and unlikely to be visible when the dress is worn.  After reading Summerset’s blog on her latest dress, I went with hand picked – it’s amazingly quick and strong. (Mine is NOT as nice as hers – she’s one of my sewing heroes,  I aspire to her skills!)

I think the collar is ok – the spread works on this style of dress.  It’s applied directly, no collar stand – which makes it easier to sew, but not as crisp, in my opinion.

I’m very, very proud of myself about the skirt – 4 front pieces, 4  back pieces, and 8 godets – all of which went together smoothly first time with no ripping and restitching thanks to the godet instructions in Sandra Betzina’sPower Sewing.” Yay for skill building successes!

I let the dress hang for DAYS to let the bias drop (and ok, because I was procrastinating!) and when Sue helped me pin the hem, we were surprised by how much some sections dropped – and how little others did.  Fortunately I knew I was using more of the same fabric made into bias binding for a bound hem – so I could get away with having a few sections that were quite a lot shorter.  And with 160″ or so to sew around the hem, I had to accept that some compromises were necessary if I wanted to wear it THIS YEAR!

In this hem detail photo you can also see just how cute the all-over print of sewing things is!

The hem, bound with bias binding
The hem, bound with bias binding

The neckline was rather *ahem* LOWER than I had anticipated – perhaps next time I need to stay the neckline? (I don’t think this was caused by my lengthening the bodice – it looks low on the pattern cover, too.) But the crossover point got a wee press-stud inside, so I won’t flash bra at anyone.

HOWEVER – I will probably make this dress again – cos it’s TWIRLY!

This dress makes me happy!
This dress makes me happy!

And I grabbed some $5 per metre/115cm wide all polyester (not too bad to the hand, though, and totally non-crushable) in black with white dots when Sue, Vicki and I stopped at Fabric Barn on our way home from Brisbane the other day.  I’m glad I did the first one in cotton though – I know some of the traps to watch out for in the second iteration.

Not least of which is MARK EVERYTHING. A LOT!  The chalk I used seemed to disappear just when I needed it most – it’s back to good old-fashioned tailors tacks for me. I have shamelessly snagged this illustration from Vintage Sewing Info, who very kindly provide their info under Creative Commons:

Creative Commons

Mark perforations with tailor’s tacks.

The very best way to mark perforations is by using tailor’s tacks since you can then mark them through two pieces of material at once. A very good plan is to mark all small perforations with one color thread and all large perforations with another color.

Tailor’s tacks are thread marks placed in the material, made through the perforations in the tissue paper pattern.

Illustration 25This is the way to make tailor’s tacks.

Use a double thread preferably without a knot. Take a stitch or two stitches one over the other through each perforation and down through both pieces of material if the material is double. Where there is a row of perforations close together like those at the shoulder seam or the underarm seam, take a row of stitches through each perforation and leave a loop between each perforation. (Ill. 25.) Cut the thread half way between the perforations and take the pattern off.

Now, to separate the two pieces of material, pull them slightly apart and snip through each tailor’s tack between the two pieces of material. A little whisker of basting thread will be left in each piece indicating where each perforation comes in the pattern.”

There, wasn’t that useful?!

I’m off for a little bite of dinner, and then to work on the petticoat…

Now I just have to get it and the petticoat done by 5 am Wednesday morning… please note my very expensive and exclusive pattern weights – otherwise known as tins of tuna!

Getting ready to cut 4 metres of fabric

Getting ready to cut 4 metres of fabric

Think I overdid things in the last few days.  Hiding in bed today feelng particularly blah. I want to be sewing, but I’m too achey.


*sigh* just pretend this is me having fun, ok?  I’ll be over here in the corner chewing painkillers and whimpering…

New Look 3735: Short sleeved T Shirt

New Look 3735: Short sleeved T Shirt

Please excuse the awful photo – Mr Beloved is having a nana nap after getting quite stressed out by noise.  This was done with the camera self timer!

Pattern Description: Lovely wearable collection for knit fabrics – a 3/4 sleeve top, and cap sleeved top, cardigan with belt, skirt, and pants.

New Look 6735

New Look 6735

Pattern Sizing: 10-22 in the one envelope.  I made a straight 22 with no alterations at all – not even my usual D/DD Full Bust Alterations!

New Look 6735

New Look 6735

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

YES! Other reviewers have liked the fit and those curves in the illustration on the envelope are really there – WOOHOOO!! (I’ve been caught before by over-optimistic illustrators, so I was pleasantly surprised that the promised shaping was delivered.)  And I bought this pattern for $5 when it was on sale, so I reckon I’ve already got my moneys worth our of this one!

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, but… for my first run through I followed them exactly – and I sure won’t next time. I do not understand why pattern companies insist on inserting only-very-slightly-eased sleeves in the round, when sewing them in flat is so much easier.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Quick, fits me straight out of the envelope! The scoop neckline shaping is super flattering, the sleeves look like they’ll be too short but they really work, and the centre back seam really improves the fit. Best of all is the gentle gathering of the front sides at the bustline – not enough to look like gathers, just enough to make a beautiful fit.

Fabric Used:
ARRGGGH! The cheapest, awfullest knit you ever did see – only $1 per metre at a Spodshite clearance and now I know why! It stretched out of shape and didn’t bounce back; it was super-soft and so was tricky to sew, and I don’t expect it to last more than two washes! This was only a wearable(?) muslin though, so I’m not worried.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:

None this time BUT: next time I will:

  • stabilise the neckline before binding it
  • stabilise the hem and sleeve hems with fusible tape before I hem them
  • use the overlocker (serger) for most of the construction
  • shape the bottom seam into a gentle curve at front and back, so I can wear the shirt out over my waistband.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I’ve got fabric in the washing machine right now to sew into two more tonight… I LOVE this top! I’d certainly recommend it to others, especially beginners or those (like me!) lacking confidence in sewing
knits. Just remember to put the sleeves in flat (before you sew the side seams) and I reckon you can make this in no time.


A beautifully fitted quick and easy t-shirt that will become a TNT (Tried and True) pattern for me.


And in other news today: went back to the gastroenterologist  –  keep taking the drugs for reflux, lose more weight, yada yada.

Next in the sewing pile – a pirate shirt for the TeaBot 5000™.  Years and years ago – maybe SEVENTEEN years ago, in fact ! – he asked me to make him a shirt. Better late than never – the fabric is almost dry on the washing line: black with a print of grey pirate skull and crossbones (sideways in this image):

Complete with late afternoon silhouette

Complete with late afternoon silhouette

About to become this shirt (Butterick 4486)

Ahoy there mateys, it's a PIRATE SHIRT!

Ahoy there mateys, it's a PIRATE SHIRT!

unless, of course, I decide to cut out those other two new t-shirts first….

Sue and I had the BEST girly day out today!  We were originally booked in with a make-up artist who was coming up from BrisVegas – for whatever reason, that didn’t happen.  But we kept the booking with the cosmetics counter and ended up getting much better value for money!

First thing: I’m not a warm undertone at all – I’m COOL? (Yeah, you always knew I was cool, eh?!)  In fact, I’m not an Autumn at all – I’m a WINTER!!  Look, here I am in pretty pinks – looking HEALTHY!

Pink lips, pink blush, turquoise(!) eyeliner

Pink lips, pink blush, turquoise(!) eyeliner

And look how far I’ve come: this photo was one I posted in May this year: (Admittedly, a less flattering shot, with too much flash, but still…)

May 2, 2008

May 2, 2008

I’m bloody AMAZED! So you’ll be seeing me in more of these colours:

Winter colours

Winter colours

(Someone who happens to be one of my very dearest friends and who IS an Autumn is going to get some fabric, LOL! but not that Japanese piece, I’m planning on cutting into that TONIGHT!)

Sue and I both DESPERATELY want to go see Kerryn and get our colours and image style done – I think that it would best the absolute BEST treat once I reach my goal weight,  don’t you?

After the whole skincare and makeup stuff was finished, we went for a coffee and then a little shopping – until all of a sudden we realised it was quarter to FIVE! (our appointment was for 12:30!)  We both tried on a new perfume (which I am totally in love with, the mandarin and pepper notes are just gorgeous) and went to the discount cosmetics shop for quick drying nail polish (bare toes, need polish!).

And we did a lot of sneak shopping – I wish I’d though to whip out my camera phone for some details: tops with masses of pintucks; a shirt with a lovely wide collar shaped by an inverted pleat; covered buttons and beads embellishing another pricey jacket; colour combinations to reproduce.  All things that we could add to our sewing…

I had the nicest day!  And now I’m feeling much more confident about going for  new colours – I just want to get sewing! And now I know what colour make-up to buy,I’m saving up and veeeeerrrry gradually getting myself new things.  WOOOOOOOO!  Look out world, Caity is BACK!

Next up: New Look 6735

The t-shirt in this has good reviews over on Pattern Review – but I SUCK at knits!  Wish me luck…

So, I just made View A of this skirt, with the lovely cascade formed by a couple of pleats and the shaped hem.

McCalls 5430

McCalls 5430

Pattern Description: Skirts A, B, C have waistband with self-ties and inside buttonholes; skirt A has front pleats creating a cascade; skirt B has optional trim; skirt C has self-faced pockets; length is 2″ below mid-knee.
Pattern Sizing: 6-20.  I made a size 20.

I tissue fitted the pattern and thought I would have enough overlap to allow for my swelly belly – NOPE!! Close, but I don’t know if I can wear it in public.  (I think I might have forgotten to pleat out the pleats.  Truly, I am such a NONG sometimes!)

Wrap skirt

Wrap skirt

What do you think – can I go out in this or should I leave it in the wardrobe until my belly goes down?

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes!  Of course, the pattern illustration girl is unrealistically tall and thin, IMHO….

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes.  The only tricky bit is the waistband and attached ties – but just read the instructions through carefully and you won’t have any problems.

What did you particularly like  or dislike about the pattern?
Like: It was quite simple to construct.
Dislike: Unless it’s an hour on some planet with a MUCH longer day than Earth’s, there is NO WAY this is a one hour project!  I’m sure I spent at least that long just pressing during construction.

I am, however, now QUITE motivated to learn how to use a narrow hemmer foot properly – because doing the whole “ease stitch, press up, then pin and stitch” on that much hemline, as per the instructions, is just silly.  Next time I might just use the serger for a rolled hem -there’s a LOT of hem!

Fabric Used: Quilting cotton from my stash. (Robert Kaufman Fusion Roses in red from Hancock’s of Paducah.)  I probably should have thought more about the wrong side of the fabric showing in the cascade – but I can live with it.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: None! This is straight out of the envelope.  I *should* have altered it to accommodate my larger than normal belly, but I didn’t.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Already got the next one cut out – this time view C with pockets and top-stitching.

Conclusion: Don’t go into this expecting to make a skirt in 1 hour – there’s just NO WAY! But it is a simple and wearable skirt that will be fabulous for summer.


BTW – my hair is even shorter now!  Mr Beloved thinks it’s a little too severe this short. I kinda like it.  And did you see how Constance posed just like in my avatar?!

Oh, and I got my new glasses today – they fit better than the old ones, and are slightly stronger.  Purple frames again! Also, the lenses aren’t scratched – amazing what a difference that makes.  I try to be careful with them but ya gotta LIVE, eh?

Note – this is almost the same as my review over on Pattern Review, but with a few more details and lots of extra pics.

Pattern Description: MISSES’/MISS PETITE DRESSES AND SLIP: Loose fitting, slightly flared dress, above mid-knee has back zipper closure; dress A is sleeveless; dress B has long sleeves with wrist casings; dress C has three-quarter length sleeves; pullover, above mid-knee, A-line slip D (fitted through the bust) has shoulder straps and stitched hem.

McCalls 8853

McCalls 8853

I made dress A, the sleeveless view.

Pattern Sizing:4-12 and 14-20.  All have alternative pattern pieces for A/B cup, C cup, and D Cup.  I made a size 20 with C cup (yay, I’m not a D cup in these patterns any more!)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? YES!!  Except I think mine is even cuter. I would have loved to get hold of the exact same fabric as the pattern picture – looks a bit Marimekko, doesn’t it?

Were the instructions easy to follow? Very easy – but I cannot work out for the life of me why pattern companies insist on putting zippers in things you can pull over your head!  I did use an invisible zip this time, but won’t in the next iteration.

And without the zip, there’s no reason to have that centre back seam – so I’ll cut the back as well as the front on the fold next time. That will also avoid the awkward “oh, I should have pattern matched the back” problem on this fabric. (and I wasn’t entirely happy with the way I did the zip – never mind, I’m not re-doing it now!)

Next time, no back seam!

Next time, no back seam!

I used French seams on the shoulders and sides – the pattern called for “double stitched seams” so why not?!  The neck and armholes are bound – I think next time I’ll stitch the binding so it finishes on the outside instead, as a design feature in contrasting fabric.  With no seam in the whole dress could be made with no exposed seams – which means the stitching will probably outlast the fabric.

What did you particularly like  or dislike about the pattern? Likes: It’s fun, flirty, twirly- and quick!  I needed an outfit for a “Frock Up” event for a friend’s birthday party, but at only 7 weeks post major abdominal surgery, I can’t wear anything with a waist – because right now, I don’t have one. 🙁

Twirly dress!

Twirly dress!

Dislikes: This is a trapeze style dress (super cute!), and so has a LOT of hem. I hand stitched it this time  – all 200cm/78″ – the next version will definitely have a machine stitched hem.  Hand hemming took me almost as long as making the dress!

Fabric Used:
150 cm wide Cotton with 3% lycra, bought from local fabric heaven, Gardam’s.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:

As shown on the pattern envelope – this is SHORT!! For a size 20 the finished pattern measurements from back of neck to hem are 92cm/36″.  I initially lengthened the pattern at the hem by 11cm; once I’d hemmed it to my satisfaction the finished length was 98 cm, which falls just mid knee for me (168 cm/5’6″), so I cut about 4 cms off that 11 cm.

I also used saddle/triple stitching with embroidery thread to finish the neck and arm bindings – not something most people will notice but it made me happy.

As already mentioned, I used an invisible zipper – in low stress seams such as this I think they look better than the “traditional” lapped zipper. You really don’t need a zipper at all.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I’m already planning the next version in a sheer chiffon with a jap silk slip.

I adore this dress!  Can’t wait to make it again, it’s so quick and easy to wear.  I can see me wearing these a
lot over our hot summer here in Queensland.  And in a less dressy fabric these will be perfect for popping over togs on the way to and from the pool

Next up: Simplicity 2981: in this fantastic cotton poplin sewing themed fabric! (The scissors are about half an inch long, to give you an idea of the scale)

Simplicity 2981, View B

Simplicity 2981, View B

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