Fitting, fabrics, funky dolls and fabulous fruit

I recently spent a day doing a fitting workshop presented by Connie Crawford (, she had been brought for a tour of Oz by the Australian Sewing Guild ( which I am seriously considering joining.  Not to put the workshop down, but I came away a little disappointed and intimidated, everything was made to look very easy and it was all interspersed with hard-sell of said presenter’s products. The one thing I did want to buy was her pattern for a basic blouse block, but due to luggage weight constraints, she had limited stock and quickly sold out of my size 😦

Now I am not known for my patience in regard to sewing. I wanted a block and I wanted it yesterday!!! Fitting woven bodices has been an issue for me, I think partly because I just can’t quite accept that I am no longer the lithe, slim twenty-something I used to be. If the truth be told, I probably delude myself when it comes to measuring waist, bust and hips and consequently have issues with garments being too tight across these areas. At the workshop, we were measured by expert seamstresses with no emotional baggage regarding me at all. The measurements were there in brutal black and white (and it was a sorry sight let me tell you!).

So, I came home with measurements, a fair idea of how to fit (using Connie’s method) and no pattern to work with.

I searched through my pattern hoard and found a couple that looked like they might be malleable for some plastic surgery, but I then thought to myself, “I have a truck load of sewing books, there must be something somewhere I can use?”.

I ended up using a book my friend Janene gave me. It belonged to her mother and was published in the late 1950’s (we think).


Janene said she thought I would appreciate the book more than she, so I was it’s grateful

recipient, it even has her mother’s name still on the cover 🙂

The book has very simple drawings, fairly typical of the no-frills books of the time, it also has a chapter on pattern-making and from this I made my block. I had heard of the mathematical method of pattern-making which supposedly gives you true-to-whatever-size garments and this seemed to be a version of that system.

P1030567 this is the pattern I ended up with (with muliple modifications because I am ridiculously reluctant to follow instructions carefully and mistakes were made P1030571. After said modifications were done, I ended up with this tremendously alluring garment block in a touching shade of “old sheet pink” P1030572

P1030573 Whoever thought such sexiness could be attained with just a few hours work (and yes, I said “hours”)? Despite it’s obvious lack of appeal, the thing fits very well, I still need to tweak the location of the bust dart, but on the whole, this is what I will be using to make tops and blouses in the future.

P1030575 These are my latest fabric purchases.

I went into Potters(some info here: ) to look for some spotted cotton jersey (to make another Tiramisu for work) and instead found linen in a stunning selection of colours. I knew exactly what I wanted to make with the putty-coloured one

P1030577 I have loved this skirt/pants thingy since I first bought this book P1030578

here it is in both guises P1030576 (skirt to pants with a few strategically-placed buttons- clever eh?).

I adore Japanese pattern books and have a few here at home, it is the fresh minimalist look, the natural fabrics and the gorgeous bodies modelling the designs (ahem- yes I know, they look different on a 51 year-old short and stocky woman, but hey, give me a break please?).

Okay, now for the funky dolls.

My beautiful niece’s youngest daughter was diagnosed recently with leukaemia. She is still little more than a baby (not quite two years old) and everyone is devastated with this awfulness. We all know that she has a good chance of recovering, but it is also true that she has about three years of treatment ahead of her and that her chances of developing another cancer when she is older are increased. It all looks pretty grim at the moment.

I bought these dolls some years ago as presents for my daughter, but she wasn’t that keen (we both love Kokeshi dolls, but these were a cutified version with did not appeal to her), I think they are gorgeous. Info on Kokeshi dolls can be found here:  These dolls have a little compartment underneath which holds a small scroll upon which you can write a message. P1030580 Lauren will get the boxed one and her big sister will get the one with pigtails (because she likes pink). I need to think of something to write in each of them and although both girls are a bit young to appreciate the thoughts, I know their lovely parents will treasure them, I just hope the message isn’t lost in the translation from English to Dutch.

Finally, fabulous fruit! The season for mulberries has been stupendous this spring, I have given away kilos of plump, juicy goodness and even made a batch of mulberry jam. Now my favourite lunch in this muggy, warm weather is prunes in cold yoghurt. I know prunes get a bad rap, but I have always like them and swamped in yoghurt they are just delicious. One problem…no prunes 😦 Off down the back to pick a bowl of mulberries and my lunch is set 🙂 P1030581

Off to tuck in now, see ya!


4 thoughts on “Fitting, fabrics, funky dolls and fabulous fruit

  1. I’m doing some serious measuring now to make up a bodice sloper/blouse block. I was measuring myself and had a tough time getting accurate measurements by myself. My finished sloper was too tight – I think I was being a little untruthful with myself – and I have to make some changes to it. But I have decided no matter how much I don’t like the end result, I am going to get the job done right! Good for you on finishing your’s!

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