Stash gifts

(… or Thankyou Karen)

Mum and I visited her cousin Karen yesterday, Karen left the room and went hunting through a cupboard, she said she wanted to show me something…she beckoned me into her sewing room and told she needed more space as she is having an exhibition soon of her latest paintings and was running out of places to store stuff…

Karen travels extensively for her art and is always buying fabric…

I have always envied bloggers who post photos of Aunty So-and So’s stash which has been bequeathed to them etc etc, but I can be jealous no longer…

Here is some of it

DSC_0238 silks from India and Thailand

DSC_0239 checks and plaids from India, Australia and history (the end one belonged to her Mother who died 35 years ago!)

DSC_0240 cottons from Africa, India and Japan

DSC_0242 batiks and cotton prints from Indonesia

I have run out of space and the pile is HUGE, never, ever, ever again, will I have stash-envy; I feel as if I am drowning in great swathes of beautiful (and not so beautiful) fabric… gurgle…gurgle…gasp


Flogging a dead horse?

When do you call it quits on a favourite garment? Do you patch and refashion until there is little left of the original?

My son went on a school trip in Year 9 and spent 1500 Yen on a yukata from one of the hotels he stayed in. It is his preferred lounging around the house clothing (how appropriate!).

Seven years later it has been ripped and repaired on countless occasions and the last mending job I was a bit lazy and just used iron-on mender… unsurprisingly it didn’t last.

So, the dilemma was do I patch or does it get cut up for dusters?

Because it is sooo special to him, I decided to bring out the big guns and do a decent repair job this time.

right side darning darning:quilting

I initially started darning by hand, but gave up fairly quickly as the fabric was so fragile, you may be able to see the glue that was left after the iron-on mender fell off, it made the fabric very stiff and unyielding. Anyway, I decided to patch and darn…

This was my first attempt using my free-motion foot and I found it quite challenging, still it did the job and the end result is a very stable patch.

To cover the unsightly mess on the outside, I decided to go with a Japanese theme and so embroidered my son’s name in Katakana (alphabet). The attempt was to emulate the use of lettering in Japanese art, a bit like this…


251r53f (This lettering is Kanji alphabet and my son’s name doesn’t really translate, so Katakana was used) and this is what we ended up with

katakana Huw his name only has three letters (phew!).

So, here we are, the final result. Unfortunately, the navy fabric is a knit (pilfered from my stash), so there was a bit of stretching when it was sewn to the yukata, but he is pretty pleased and I am just glad it’s over. finished yukata


The plan is that he is going back to Japan at the end of his undergraduate degree, he plans to teach English for year meanwhile honing his Japanese language; after that who knows- the world is his oyster :)

Wordsmith Wednesday – Paraprosdokians


Loved this, enjoy!

Originally posted on Noddfacrafts:

Paraprosdokians (Winston Churchill loved them) are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected; frequently humorous.

1. Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.

2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on my list.

3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

4. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.

5. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

6. War does not determine who is right – only who is left.

7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

8. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

9. I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I…

View original 151 more words

A family story

This year is the fifth anniversary of my Father dying, unfortunately it also coincided with Mothers Day. When I ‘phoned Mum to wish her Happy Mothers Day, she asked me if I knew what else it was and I replied yes. Dad died three months short of their fiftieth wedding anniversary and he was so ill for such a short time it was hard getting our heads used to it. File0001_15_3

He hadn’t been feeling well for a few months before he was diagnosed with acute leukaemia, he was immediately airlifted up to Perth to have further tests and start treatment; three and a half weeks later he succumbed to kidney and liver failure brought on by the chemotherapy.

I wish I had hugged him more.

We were a family that wasn’t very “huggy”, so it isn’t surprising that just because Dad was ill we didn’t change much, we kept on with what we knew and he kept on being stoic. He made jokes when his hair started falling out and he was given an atrocious synthetic beanie by the cancer support person in hospital. Mum stayed strong, performing some of Dad’s intimate care as he was a very private man and she was a nurse. She stayed strong until she went into the city to find a radio for him, as the hospital radio reception wasn’t up to much and Dad wasn’t an avid television watcher. After traipsing around Perth for an eternity, she took a rest in a shoe shop and promptly burst into tears. The staff in the shop were lovely to her and I wrote them a thankyou letter after Mum told me what had happened.

He wasn’t an easy person, but they were best friends and she misses him. no way was he going to smile!_1

They met on board a ship outside of Naples. Mum was on her way back home to Wales to look after her own father whose health was failing, Dad was going back to The Netherlands to be best man at his brother’s wedding. She was beautiful and he was undeniably handsome File0006_3, they fell in love and got married six weeks later. Dad brought his lovely bride to Australia and they settled in a small Pilbara town called Wittenoom. Dad was the paymaster for the company and Mum had two children within two and a bit years Dad 1.

A couple of years later, they moved down to the south-west and added another child to the mix. We lived in the hills outside of Perth, a wonderful place to grow up and Mum loved it, but Dad was always restless, looking for something better and eventually they moved again, this time down to the plain.

Time moved on and eventually, it was just the two of them living together in a southern coastal town, a lovely place. We all visited them for holidays (and continue to visit and spend time with Mum).

My Dad worked hard to give us all a comfortable life, he wanted the best for us and made sure we got it; my brothers and I were very privileged (which I didn’t understand until I became an adult). As I said before, he wasn’t an easy man, but he was my Dad and I loved him, “warts and all”. I daresay, Mum would confess that he wasn’t the easiest husband either, but he was her soulmate and she misses him.

We all do…

I wish I had hugged my dear Dad more.

marlo 1

That Girl

When I was a middle teen, one of my favourite things to do on a quiet Saturday winter afternoon was watch Doris Day movies and catch reruns of Marlo Thomas in That Girl e1ed556b7ece548376605d71df9d2ceb. I loved Marlo, she was cute and feisty, sort of an edgier Sally Field, but a decade later. My latest make is channelling my inner Marlo! As a shorter than average woman, I have always liked those late sixties belted shift dresses, with the fake-ish dropped waist and so here is my homage to that style (forgive my daughter’s unmade bed!)  :)

marlo 1 The pattern is the Port Elizabeth top (lengthened obviously), it is a free pattern drafted by a seamstress that I downloaded from Burdastyle  here and has become one of my TNT patterns, both as a top and a dress (4 tops and 3 dresses to be precise). Amateur patternmakers rule!!!

From the side, you can see I extended the belt only part of the way around the rear, this was to avoid it catching on chair arms and the like, I added the buttons much to my daughter’s chagrin, I apparently put too many random buttons on stuff :P  marlo2 I am really happy with it, is this style too young for a 52 year old woman? Don’t know, don’t care, I just know that I feel happy when I am wearing it and that is a mighty big box to tick in my view :)

My next dress will use the same pattern, but I will add sleeve length for winter and make the neckline higher so I don’t need a skivvy underneath. I bought this beautiful wool, viscose and elastane (I think) from Knitwit in Nedlands (here) it is quite heavy and drapes beautifully, lovely and warm for winter boucle close up, the colours are slightly brighter than this photo and I am hoping I have enough left over for a small infinity scarf to brighten up any dull, winter colours boucle 2

Lastly, I need some advice… this dress just doesn’t suit me. potato in a red dress1The fabric is a soft viscose, nylon blend and feels lovely, therefore, I would like to refashion rather than give the dress to charity. Despite the “smile for the camera”, I think I look like a clothed potato in this, it clings to all the wrong places and I feel very lumpy and self conscious in it, I think I have worn it out once in 4 years- what a waste! I make no apologies for the graininess of the pics, believe me, more definition you don’t need!!!

So, suggestions everyone? potato in a red dress 2 I am thinking a top and skirt, but I am not sure there is enough fabric and think maybe I should use the top fabric for gore inserts to make the skirt swing, that would leave the cowl to be worn as… a cowl- whaddya think peeps?

Let me know pleeeease?!

jacket shell resized

Making use of time off work…

Vogue jacket resized Well I have used my stress leave to make the jacket I had been planning for some time and here it is :)

I had a few issues with the make and considering I have already made this once before (when I had very few sewing skills), I was surprised by the problems. In retrospect, I think I have just become a lot more fastidious and demanding of myself, back then I was happy if I managed to make something to wear!

I used the bright orange corduroy for the shell and some hot pink acetate for the lining, the combination is warm to wear and look at (perfect for me as I do feel the cold and loathe winter).

jacket shell resized Here is the shell on my bed, sorry about the fussy background.

The issues I had were with the lining. The pattern is not lined and this is where I made a few mistakes, I had a lot of unpicking and a lot of handsewing to make the lining sit well and the jacket to hang satisfactorily.

the guts resized You can’t really see it here, but the lining is not bagged. I cut it a little short and when I bagged it, the shell was pulled up horribly.

label resized  embroidery resized  embroidery 2 resized

Instead, I attached the lining at strategic points with embroidery and after overlocking the edge, I turned it up and secured the hem with french knots in embroidery floss. I used to do a lot of embroidery and I think I was pretty good back then, it is quite deflating seeing one’s skills deteriorate over time when not performing the skill. The stitching is pretty average and the vision I had for something spectacular and sumptuous went out the window…plus, tbh I became a bit bored. The acetate is frankly pretty awful to do fine stitching on, although I know that is no excuse.

All-in-all, I love this jacket. As a relatively short woman, it doesn’t engulf me and the fabric choices are perfect for our mild Perth winters. I love colour and I think this ensemble looks very nice and perfect for me!

full outfit resized