Not twiddling my thumbs

Yep, not been idling my time away, I’ve been busy, busy, busy.

My son really liked the fabric of the skirt I made recently blogged here and requested that I make him a pair of shorts out of the same stuff, so off I went to Knitwit and bought some more. I used the KwikSew pattern I had used earliersecuredownload-7_large, with a few modifications (he likes a slimmer leg and lower profile), despite a couple of fittings, the lad was not convinced about them…I know what he means, the waistband is waaaay too wide and will need to be halved and his bottom doesn’t sit in the seat that well; I just don’t understand it, grrr. Despite all this, they have the best finish on them of any mens pants I have made and I am just a little bit impressed with them. The fabric was lovely to work with and I used a really robust, quality cotton for the pocket bags.

Since he’s worn them a couple of times, he likes them now, but I still need to fix that waist

shorts front  shorts back (the bottom shot really shows how the waistband is).

I am also taking part in Sue’s Japanese Knot Bag Sewalong details here. I made a knot bag a couple of years ago for my brother’s wedding, it was a bit silly really and it put me off the style, but I decided to give it another go with Sue’s pattern and this is the result

bag handles together the fabric is a teatowel designed by Perth’s own Anna Chandler (I love her use of pattern and colour). I bought it several years ago intending it to be a skirt panel, but it languised in my stash until this bag challenge. The weave is very coarse and so it frayed horribly, I had to use fray check in several places to stop stitched pulling apart. This was actually the wrong side to start with, the fabric had a centre which I had intended to use as the front piece, but I didn’t line it up very well and the pattern is off-centre bag front, now back, I was quite disappointed, although it isn’t so noticeable when the bag is on the wrist. Despite all this, I really like it, it adds a pop of colour and holds a lot more than I expected,I think it will be handy in the summer months which are nearly upon us. bag held  

I am on leave at the moment, doing Mumsy stuff and being a rock for my daughter who is in the middle of tertiary entrance exams. She is pretty calm about it all and can’t wait for it all to be over so she can go on holidays and get a job…seems like only yesterday she had her first day at Kindy, came home exhausted and fell asleep on the sofa…(sigh).


It’s a workplace, it shouldn’t be a…


At the moment, my revered work colleagues and I are having to deal with a very disruptive member of the team and it is exhausting, no energy here, we are all feeling the effects.

She has been with us for four years now, but it feels like yesterday when she started, seemingly charming and eager to contribute. Since then her true colours have been exposed, it’s been up and down and all angles in between. The floor seems unstable and the goalposts are continually shifting, sometimes it’s good, often we are walking on egg shells and the other times we are having to deal with an unstable, erupting volcano. We are having to put out spot fires with soothing words, encouraging smiles and all the time we are wondering when the next tirade or flood of tears will be.

We are workplace bullies, we don’t care and we micromanage.

Well Sweetie, reap what you have sown!!! angry_old_woman

I know, I am disgruntled and it is not okay to talk like this. We have had a fortune spent trying to help our little team achieve some semblance of cohesion, but it is futile when the cause doesn’t accept her contribution to the unrest. I am off to another mediation session soon with HR, but tbh HR haven not been very much help. In fact we were told there were at least 90 other people in the organisation all wreaking the same type of havoc, in essence, out situation just isn’t that special…

None of us have ever worked with this kind of person before, our little team just wants to work harmoniously and get our contribution done accurately, precisely and with enjoyment.

So dear readers, have you ever had to cope with someone like this? Please don’t tell me she needs to be sacked, in the public sector that is extremely difficult and isn’t up to me anyway (no matter how much I wish it).

Hints, tips etc etc pleeeeeease. Help

bag front

Another foray into bag-making

My previous attempts at bag-making have been of mixed success, my Mum’s art bag has worked well but lacked a good finish, my Japanese knot bag for my Brother’s wedding was really too cutesy and I’ve not used it since.

This time I needed a bag to match my outfit for my Daughter’s valedictory evening, I decided a clutch would suffice for the ‘phone, keys, a hankie (I have a feeling I will cry buckets) and spare lippy. So off to the interwebs to find a pattern!

I settled upon the and went to work.

I confess I did not use stash fabric for the outside, I found this slubbed silk-look upholstery fabric at Spotlight and bought 30 cm of it for the princely sum of $2.10. The shop assistant thought it was silk, but it is actually viscose, cotton, poly mix; the colour is a dark grey which I thought would be a nice contrast to the pale grey of the dress I am wearing (and have yet to finish).

bag front

The most expensive things on the bag were the trim and the magnetic closure, it is lined with remnant Ikea sheet fabric and is stabilised with a heavy sew-in interfacing and a remnant of blue fleece for some padding. On the whole, I think it would have cost in total about $7 for materials, considering it’s luxe look and feel, I am thinking it was well worth it (especially as it was much more enjoyable to make than the weeding I had planned to do! bag inside

internal pocket It came together pretty straightforwardly (is that even a word?), the only alterations were that I made the bag slightly bigger and my strap is made of the main fabric and is long enough to be on my wrist and still be “clutched”.

My daughter’s comment was, “It’s wonky”, oooh grrr! It isn’t actually, it just needs a good press!


Long time no see..

It’s been a while I know. It’s not like I have been doing nothing, I just find the transitional seasons very tiring for some reason and Spring is always a big fat lie, the sun shines but it’s too cold to wear bright, light things. So brr, I have been in a bit of a fug.

I have done a bit of sewing in between work, household stuff, supporting two young people coming up to life- changing exams and a husband who has been in the depths of black dog despair. Malcolm Fraser is often quoted as saying, “Life wasn’t meant to be easy”, but sometimes I do wish it was a bit easier.

Of course, what do I have to whinge about, really? I am not a refugee stuck in a detention centre wondering my future, I am not a Syrian father whose family has drowned trying to get to a better life, I am just a 52 year old woman trying to get by the best way I know how.

Anyway, I went down south to be with my Mother for a weekend and while was there I made the Gorgeous Gore skirt by StyleArc. skirt 1    more info here This is my second and it is a joy to make up, using stretch woven makes it just so easy and the personalised sizing means no fitting issues. The fabric is a stretch woven and I think it may be either denim or a very heavy twill, I bought it from Knitwit in Nedlands, my son wants a pair of shorts in it (apparently flowery pants are big with male uni students this year).

As far as the make went, I did go a bit overboard …I wanted as much of an invisible hem as possible, so I did a tailor’s hem in colours co-ordinating with the pattern of the fabric  tailors hem . It was no small task and it took a long time, as the six gores make for a lot of hem! When I had finished, I looked closely and found a few stitches that showed, I was so disappointed but was thoroughly fed up with the handsewing so they have stayed skirt 3, three stitches .

My daughter’s Valedictory Celebration is coming up in November, fourteen years of education will close that night and then we wait to see if she gets her preferred option for university in 2016. It is a stressful time for her as she prepares for “Mocks”  (the exams which are preparation for tertiary entrance exams) and, although she seems to be coping quite well, she is reporting that emotions are running high at school amongst the Year 12 cohort. The Valedictory Night will be a lovely occasion and the brief is “dressy, casual”…eh what? WTH fits that description??? Also, the night starts off with a late afternoon church service, then carries on with a formal dinner, speeches and prize-giving…aaaaagh, what to wear?

So I chose and am nearly finished making up the Muse Patterns Gillian Dress I thought a wrap dress in a beautiful fabric will do the trick and I still think it will. There have been a couple of issues with it though; the fabric is a very light jersey (I thought it was cotton but it could be modal or bamboo judging about the fineness of it) and does cling in unwanted places, this means a petticoat on the night will be necessary. Also, I have some gaping at the rear neckline, so I am planning on sewing a strip of clear elastic to the neck hem to remedy this problem. It isn’t finished, but I emailed a pic to Kat (the designer) so here it is, let me know what you think?  gillian with issues  I am tossing up between pearls or silver as the jewellery… or should I go with something more bold in colour to offset the muted tone of the grey and white spot? Opinions will be much appreciated, but remember, it is my daughter’s night to shine, not mine, so nothing too loud!!!


Nothing much really.

I have lacked energy lately, partly from having a head cold and partly because I am not at my best in the depths of winter. To be frank, I would rather be in my pyjamas drinking hot chocolate and reading, than going to work, being a taxi to school teen, making dinners, washing clothes and keeping the menagerie (human and non-human) happy.

I want a cave to escape into..

Apart from that, at the moment (and usually couple of times a year), I get a feeling that something momentous is going to happen. I recognise the signs these days, but in previous years the feeling was disconcerting to say the least. I get a hankering for nostalgia, I start thinking what ifs and I get generally fairly discontented with my life. This is not a great place to be. One of the states I strive for is contentment and on the whole I am fairly successful. I am grateful for the comfortable circumstances in which I find myself, I am healthy and really I should not complain about anything.

So where does this anxiety come from? When these feeling of change happen, I get a bit jittery, and bad-tempered, I long for younger years and different choices, it is a real “Sliding Doors” feeling, I fantasise and I wonder what the me in a parallel universe is doing right now.

MV5BMTI0NjExNDg2N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMDMyOTA5._V1_SY317_CR4,0,214,317_AL_ Is she healthy? Did she pursue her ambition to specialise in Oncology and live in Melbourne?? Is she married, does she have children???

It’s all a bit silly I know and this little episode has been kicked into gear by watching a doco on Joy Division,


… ah I miss the days of clubbing 3 nights a week and having the energy to keep going all night and still go to work in the morning!


dressing gown 2

Don’t look at the pocket!!!

I mean it, just don’t (or if you do, wipe it from your memory!). dressing gown

My son at the ripe old age of 21, has decided his dressing gown of the last 7 years is too small and he asked if I would make him a new one, I mean, how much leg does a young man really need to show?

The problem was, he wanted it long and the patterns for men’s “bathrobes” were all cut off just below the knee. I know I could have just bought one and lengthened it, but that was not part of the plan…instead I bought the Lekala (women’s) kimono pattern! Of course, I had to put in “my” measurements and I cannot imagine what sort of Amazon they thought they had as a customer! One with a height of 185cm and an almost straight up and down body, I reasoned that a kimono can be worn loosely and so measurements did not need to be accurate.

The fabric is a heavy poly fleece from Spotlight, 3 enormous metres of it. I don’t like synthetics and I especially don’t like cheap synthetics, this was $10/m and I think the price was about right- it feels horribly plastic to me and very different to some fleece I bought from Knitwit years ago that was more than twice that price. Still, it was what he wanted and he is happy with it.

Men’s sewing is boring. There, I said it.

Lots of very long, straight seams, there was no challenge and little enjoyment in this project. It all came together quite boringly straightforward, except that dear son is ill and refused to get out of his sickbed and try the thing on. Eventually I guesstimated arm length, body length and (unfortunately) pocket placement. The pattern had in-seam pockets, but men’s robes have patch pockets, so I thought I would do the gender-specific thing and go with a patch. It is ridiculously low (yeah, I knew you would look at it). My problem now, is that he won’t let me unpick it and put it in the right place :(  He just doesn’t care enough about it, but I don’t want him telling anyone I made it either!

On the upside, the dressing gown is roomy, warm and soft, what more does it need to be?