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Photo update

A while Ages ago I posted about a finished project with the promise for a picture of me actually wearing the dress. I finally got around to wearing it the other night and had a couple of pics snapped before we went out. Actually, around 20 photos were taken but only a few were acceptable for internet consumption. The human to alien ratio of me in photos is about 1:5…at best.

Rescued disaster dress

After wearing it for an evening out, I’m sorry I hadn’t worn it earlier…maybe I just needed some time away from it because its rescue operation gave me nightmares. It’s done now though, and it’s given me more enthusiasm for tackling the other horrors that are in my UFO box.

Shiny, shiny dress

The fabric looks mega shiny in these photos, but I don’t think (??) it’s this obvious in real life. I’m going to blame the camera flash. In reality the fabric is gorgeous and soft and yes, a little shiny but it’s much less “cocktail” looking than these photos seem to depict.

Up close and personal

Overall, I’m super happy that I persevered with this – it’s a cute dress, made with fabulous fabric and I got a stack of compliments when I wore it the other night – that’s always a score, right?



Long time, no see!

Wow! It’s been nearly five months since I last posted. But, before you think I’ve just been lazy (which, to be honest is my usual excuse for long blogging breaks) I’ve been a busy little bee. I got back a couple of weeks ago from a wonderful three month long European holiday! We were lucky enough to spend about 6 weeks in France, and the rest of the time was spent wandering around different countries as you can only really do in Europe. Coming from Australia where it takes about four hours to fly to our closest neighbouring country (New Zealand) and at least double that for flying anywhere else, it was such a luxury to be only a couple of hours from any selection of other countries. But enough of that, I have some pictures and a few stories from our trip, related to sewing – of course! – to share.

Because I’m a bit of a history nerd we visited lots of historical sites, and lots of those related to the two world wars. While many of the sites were moving to the extreme, one in particular really touched me; the village of Oradour-sur-Glane, in France. If you don’t know the story, check it out here. But in brief, a company of German SS soldiers destroyed the town in 1944 and murdered nearly 650 of its inhabitants, which was basically everyone. The ruined village was ordered to be maintained in its destroyed state as a permanent memorial and you can still visit it today. Which we did.


All that’s left of the village are ruined buildings and the metal remains of the townspeople’s belongings: bed frames, tools, bicycles and sewing machines. Dozens and dozens of sewing machines – most of them Singer machines.

Indestructible Singer sewing machine

They’re dirty and rusted, but they’re all still unmistakably sewing machines and they look like they just need a bit of love and they’d start right up and start sewing again! And nearly every dwelling had at least one which serves as a reminder of just how ubiquitous they were and how important sewing and the creation of one’s own garments and household items was.

Another one

I counted well over 50 sewing machines, in various states of disrepair, while walking through the town and I’m quite sure there were many, many more. While the loss of 650 lives was a drop in the ocean in relation to the massive numbers lost throughout the war, the story of the loss of this village was incredibly difficult to get my head around. I feel I connected with the long-gone residents through our shared reliance on sewing.

A fabric shop

It wasn’t all doom and gloom, though, in my visits to the past.  While at a museum elsewhere in France I was perusing the items held celebrating the end of World War 2 and came across this:

Victory dress!

The caption accompanying this dress states: “Teenage girl’s dress, make for the Liberation out of scarves printed with reproductions of portraits of the Allied heads of state.” I love that someone made a dress to celebrate the liberation of France – makes the dresses I make to celebrate my birthday or other such occasions so trivial – and that it lives on for us all to see.  It’s a pretty awesome dress style too!

And finally for today, I’ll finish up with a dress I made for myself to wear while travelling around.

The dress

Okay, so you can’t really see it too well in this pic, but it’s the best I have of me actually wearing it overseas.  The reason this dress is so special to me and our trip is not because it’s made of brightly coloured seersucker, or even that it’s made from a 1959 pattern.  It’s that I wore this amazing dress to the craziest music festival I’ve ever been to.  It was in Spain. It was in a dessert. It was insane.  And I can guarantee I was the only person there wearing a 1950s dress. I was actually one of the only people I saw there even wearing a dress.  Retro represent! Anyway, I don’t have any photos of me at the festival at all, but I do have this photo to show you just how insane the festival was.

Creepy trolls and devil woman – all par for the course at Monegros Desert Festival

Actually, this photo doesn’t do the craziness any justice.  But you kind of get the idea, no?


Self-Stitched September fail & other exciting news

So…I haven’t posted in aaaaaages, and my latest challenge (self-stitched September) ended in a bit (huge?  massive?) of a fail, but I do have a good excuse, which I’ll get to later.  For now, here’s the remainder of my SSS photos.

Day 13

Day 13 was my “hula-cowgirl” look (on account of the Hawaiian print skirt and big brown boots).  I made this circle skirt from a 1960s pattern, but it’s just your classic circle skirt, so really not difficult at all  I love to wear it as it’s so full and swishy, and the fabric is just so cheerful.  I think I receive a compliment just about every time I wear it.  The blue trim at the hem was originally supposed to be hidden actually under the skirt, but I was in a hurry to finish it for a work Christmas thing last year and had to wear it with just the bias trim showing.  I’ve grown to really like it the way it is, so I’ve just left it.  I know it’s sheer laziness but I like it, damn it!  Also, I just realised the necklace I’m wearing is me-made too.  I made the funky beads from Fimo clay years ago and occasionally pull it out to jazz up an outfit.

Day 14

Day 14 was my boring classic librarian outfit (hence the very serious looking book).  Black and white gathered skirt (yes, the one I’ve made so many of).  Not much else to say of this, really…

Day 15

Day 15 is my red and white seersucker dress (also seen here) with my red bow-belt.  I love this dress so much – I really should make another.

Day 16

Day 16 is a lame effort…I’ll admit.  My self-made item was this button brooch.  It’s awesome, but not self-stitched.  At least I made it!

Day 17

Day 17 is an even worse effort than day 16…it’s made of fabric (the red and white seersucker featured a couple of days before, for all you astute readers), but not stitched at all either.  It’s basically just a fabric rectangle with a smaller rectangle tied around it.  And a safety pin attaching it to my shirt.

And, that’s the end of my SSS ’11 adventures.   Now, onto the reason I fell of the wagon, so to speak…Dajarra and I bought a house!  We’ll be moving in a couple of weeks which is super exciting, but the purchase went through right in the middle of September, so pretty much all my time was taken up with all the house-buying things you have to do.  Like sign a million documents.  Read endless legal forms.  Speak with bank managers.  And countless other things that I dare not think of again.  Ugh…but, so worth it.  To celebrate I finally made a cover for an uber ugly ottoman that Dajarra picked up somewhere that I’ve been promising to cover for about a year.

Ugly no more!

I forgot to take a before pic but it was originally orange vinyl and covered in graffiti.  Now it’s pretty awesome!

Matilda the wonder dog

Perfect weekends

I haven’t blogged in what feels like ages, but I’ve been really enjoying my weekends.  There hasn’t been a lot of sewing related action, but lots of rest and relaxation.

The following pics pretty much sum up my last few weekends…

Reading in the Winter sunshine

Drinking tea in the cold evenings

Baking chocolate cupcakes and drinking red wine

Hanging out with my awesomely gorgeous dog, Matilda

Having friends visit and bring pretty flowers (thanks to Bonnie for the flowers and Dajarra for the photo!)


In sewing related news, however, I started to make a dress from some beautiful fabric I bought on my summer holiday in India. The fabric is an amazingly soft, and vibrantly coloured brocade-type cloth – but it is very prone to fraying…grrr… So, I used this as an excuse to finally face my overlocker-phobia and spent a little while giving it a go – it was amazingly easy, and not nearly as scary as I thought.  Mind you, the fact that it cuts fabric as it stitches still scares the blimey out of me a bit, and I haven’t had to thread it yet (my grandmother mercifully left it threaded when she gave it to me) but I love it!  It works an absolute treat!  I’m sure I’ll change my mind about it when I have to rethread the bugger, but for now…it’s love!

Mad overlocking skillz

I’m looking forward to finishing the dress, and now I’ve conquered the overlocker and solved the issue of the horribly frayed fabric, I should hopefully be able to show you the end result by the end of the week.

Pretty (and not so pretty) dresses

So this has nothing to do with sewing, but everything to do with late nights – and dresses – so it belongs here.

A couple of weeks ago we had a party to celebrate The Wedding…you know which wedding I’m talking about.  And if you don’t, well…you don’t deserve the internet!  The rules of attendance were simple: you had to bring some posh, English-style food to share, and you had to dress as a bridesmaid (or a bride as some, myself included, did).  Everyone really got into the theme and looked brilliant!

The beautiful Kerls flashing some leg

Tovah and I sharing a cup of tea

The blushing brides

It was a very classy affair, with cucumber sandwiches (the cause for which Claire nearly lost a finger!), toad-in-the-hole, tulle and sequins galore and even two wedding cakes!  It was also fun for me to wear a wedding dress – likely to be the only time I’ll ever get to wear one – even if I did look like a deranged Little Bo-Peep (see below).

Such a beautiful dress...not...

Claire will never eat a cucumber sandwich again!

Thanks everyone who came (and let me put their photos up here!) – it was a fantastic night!

Barry’s Buttons

Over the weekend I visited with my in-laws and I finally got to experience the awesomeness known as ‘Barry’s Buttons’ (must be said in hushed awe).  For years, more so since I started sewing, I’ve been hearing about my father-in-law’s amazing button collection which I found out started when he found a box chock-full of cards of vintage buttons – hundreds and hundreds of beautiful buttons – in an op shop about 30 years ago and bought the lot for $5.  $5 for so many buttons!  One of those buttons alone would go for $5 these days!  The collection has been raided over the years but he still has many, including lots of still intact cards.

A little while ago Barry saw some brooches in a shop made from buttons and went through his collection putting different combinations together for some brooches of his own.

We glued them together…

and now we all have lovely, one-of-a-kind ‘Barry’s Buttons’ brooches.


Oh – I also finished sewing a vintage skirt, which I’ll post about when I can be bothered getting properly dressed for a photo

Embroidered Classics

How beautiful are these embroidered book covers from Jillian Tamaki?  Two of my loves together – books and stitching!