Look at moi (but not too closely)…

I actually made jeans.

Yes jeans.

Okay, so they don’t have a real fly and the front pockets are fake…but I made jeans!

And, they fit…really well.

And I am never tucking tops in ever again, so I don’t care they have an elastic waist.

And the topstitching got better as I did more of it.

Did I say that they fit?

IMG_20180317_151116.jpg  Gosh that mirror is filthy 😦  IMG_20180317_150838.jpg    IMG_20180317_135439.jpg  My daughter commented that ,”They are very flat”; I told her that flat is good when you’re fat!!!

I am chuffed in case you hadn’t picked it.

They are the Blakley Jeans by StyleArc, bought as a pattern and fabric (the denim has 5% elastane) in a size 14. The only modifications were the removal of 5cm off the leg lengths and the faux fly front put onto the male side (like almost all jeans these days).

Oh happy days 🙂


A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum…

Not really, but a funny thing did happen on the weekend.

I went to a party, possibly the first in 10 years! A real party, you know, a band, people dressed in silly green clothes (it was St Patricks Day), substandard finger food and a lot of alcohol.

I have been laid low with a nasty virus and am still recovering, so I ate before I went and confined myself to soda water whilst at the “do”. I went to meet new people, to extend my circle of friends, to see if there are people who might like to get to know me better; I went because I am emerging from the doldrums and wanting to take life by the horns (so to speak).

The funny thing that happened, was that the women I spoke with at the party, melted away when they found out I was in the throes of divorce. Not only that, but they seemed to wander over to their partners and guard them! MjAxMi1mNjRmOGY3ZTdhMmRmNDdh

It didn’t occur to me that this was happening until after I got home and the shame was I thought a couple of them could have been potential friends.

I wanted to shout, “I am not after your husbands and partners Ladies!!!”

My ex is hanging around like a bad smell and I need more complication in my life like a hole in the head! I am not looking for anyone, let alone someone already in a relationship (that has always been a STOP sign for me). I know what it is like to have someone threaten the stability of a relationship, it’s not something I would ever aspire to, men are just not worth it!

When I arrived at work this morning, I discussed this with my work colleague and she said it is common and it definitely happened to her. I think this is quite frankly pretty weird and very sad, are we not better than that???

I would love some comment from people who have experienced this, as the divorced woman, the predatory woman or the wronged woman; I just can’t get my head around it.


I know…ho hum, who writes a blog post about doing the washing?

Well, I guess that must be me.

As household chores go, I don’t mind doing the washing. The reward last longer than the next person in the clean kitchen, or the next pair of shoes worn inside the house onto clean floors. Yes, at least with clean washing, you have a day of enjoying the experience of wearing nice-smelling clothing and a whole wardrobe of clean stuff to choose from 🙂

As most of you know, I am living in a rental property at the moment and the design (or lack of it) of the laundry is a sobering experience. My current laundry is little more than a very big cupboard off the passageway, with a trough/cupboard and nothing else.


Without any cupboard space apart from underneath the trough, I usually keep a lot of washing stuff on top of the dryer. I don’t mind this, but there is no bench space at all and with a rotten back that is a problem. I hand wash quite a bit of my summer clothing, mainly because the fabrics are light voiles dyed in India and the colour bleeds excessively. Hence I hand wash each piece separately rather than hazarding a lot of cross-clothing discolouration.

What to do? I have done the whole bending down to the floor with a second bowl thing and my back just can’t take it any longer, so I have resorted to the bathroom sink.

IMG20180303073255.jpgYes the bowl is small, but it is perfect for these light, filmy pieces and the heaven of not having to bend down and up all the time is just luxury. Not too much water is used because of the small bowl which is an added plus and I don’t get weighed-down by a huge laundry basket full of clothing, because (you guessed it), the washing line is not convenient to either the laundry or the bathroom.

I don’t use a dryer much, with the weather here, most of the time it is unnecessary. I will use it in winter just to take the damp off line-dried washing before I put it away (mainly thick items like jeans and towels), but really, the dryer is just a nice luxury.


I quite like the position of my (fold away) washing line, it faces south-west, which means it is shaded for quite a lot of the time in summer, this, plus hanging my coloured clothing inside-out means that fading is not really problem. I am not so sure it will be that great when the weather turns autumnal though, I wonder if it will be a problem trying to dry thick items.

Reading through this post, I wonder why I even thought to write it! Boring is the word that comes to mind and I don’t blame you if you switched off a while ago :0

Rest assured though, I am unlikely to blog about the next chore that comes with laundering; ironing (though necessary, especially for a seamstress) is one chore from which  I derive very little pleasure, so I won’t be boring you with that one!

Cheers 🙂

A piece of cake it was not!

Well this piece of cake took forever to make, it was supposed to be my Christmas dress, but never made it to the day.

This is the Piece of Cake frock by Jody Pearl. It is called the Piece of Cake because it is supposed to be a very straightforward make and to be fair to Jody, the troubles I had making this dress were because the bodice is not suited to my body shape, but I was impressed with the photo img_2742 and went ahead without thinking. You can find out more about Jody here.

I am drawn to an empire waistline, I don’t like the feeling of constraint around my body, which is why an empire waistline is one I really like wearing. Unfortunately, this bodice has no provision for anyone with more than a B cup bust, nary a dart or shape is to be found and the length of the shoulder “strap” was just too long for this shorty 😦

I did do some fitting through the making of the first version, but thought I could deal with the bodice length problem afterward.


When I shortened the bodice, it brought the waist up too high and squashed my breasts to billyoh- I could hardly breathe! I became quite despondent and disgustedly put the dress into the too-hard basket.  There was another problem with it and that was the colour of the bodice. There are no pictures (they were quickly erased), but the bodice was a very pretty solid blue poplin, unfortunately it was just too much blue and I hated it.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, Christmas is over and I have 3 more weeks off work to fill, out comes the Piece of Cake. I started unpicking the bodice, but gave up and cut it off the skirt, I thought I might salvage it, but I think it is destined for the bin.

I thought I would try making a new bodice pattern, customised to me. I did a Connie Crawford workshop years ago on making a bodice “sloper”, but tbh it was a bit beyond me at the time. This time, I pulled out my trusty Threads fitting guide and attempted a full bust adjustment. I know many seamstresses do this as a matter of course, but it is a first for me (and it does stick in my craw because I had a breast reduction years ago!).


So I took the dartless bodice and added side darts and waist pleats and it turned out pretty well, it also gave me a new bodice pattern to use for remaking this dress.

I had to shorten the bodice again, but without worrying about the end result as this white poplin was never going to be the final version. It did however give me a new colour for the bodice and I ended up making the final version in some white bengaline left over from my sage pants (bought from Spotlight last year), the skirt is made from a really nice stretch woven cotton from Knitwit in Nedlands. I did a sway back adjustment, added a waistband to compensate for the shorter length at the shoulder/neckline and raised the back to accommodate a bra band.

It is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it is okay and I will wear it. The inside is a mess which needs tidying up and there is a bit of topstitching to finish (not compulsory, but I do like a bit of topstitching!). Unfortunately, being sleeveless, it does accentuate my tuckshop-lady-arms (yet another point I failed to take into consideration when buying the pattern), but I am working on those and will probably end up looking like a weightlifter instead of someone with two huge, flaccid bags swinging from my shoulders. The waist darts look a little odd, but I can live with them, I stitched down the skirt pleats (you may have problems seeing them as the skirt fabric hides them), so as to not accentuate my tummy, but it is not the most flattering garment I have ever made.


img_2738  img_2740  img_2739

Forgive the unironed appearance, that will be remedied before it is worn outside the house!

Will I make it again? The jury is out, I may, but probably just the tunic version and in a lighter-weight fabric. I have learned a lot making this little dress and will not shy away from altering patterns to make them fit better in future although I do prefer clothing that is looser to wear.

A new toy and some pants

I recently made another pair of the StyleArc Sage pants in a white bengaline, lovely slim fit with a flat front (and I really need a flatter front 😉  ).

img_2472  img_2470  img_2471


Anyway, I used the Janome to make them and found it has a really nice overlock stitch which got me thinking…

I had a rush of blood to the head… I needed wanted a side cutter presser foot. The question I ask myself is why? Why, when I had given away my overlocker/serger a couple of years ago, it wasn’t a finish I was looking for on my garments (I didn’t want anything that made my clothing look like it had been commercially made) the conclusion is I guess I am my Mothers’ daughter after all (oh she of the multitude of kitchen gadgets).

Here it is in all it’s $15 glory  (free postage from Hong Kong)


That little round knobby thing at the front is the cutter. Can I say it’s not perfect (hey, it’s a 2 thread overlocker which nobody would ever buy), but it serves a (limited) purpose, here are the first two attempts on a piece of calico- not too bad methinks

img_2491  img_2492

Unsurprisingly it has its limitations, they being mainly that it doesn’t cope with thicker fabrics or more than two layers of thinner fabric. I am currently making a dress for Christmas and the foot did not deal with a lot of the work so my opinion is, the foot is cute but a bit meh (unlike the pants)!


The head is getting bigger…

Sorry, still proud.

Over the weekend, I made this FullSizeRender Um, no, I didn’t make the whole thing, just the teal-coloured slipcover. 12 square metres of stiff cotton (covered in sizing because I thought it would be easier to control- wrong, just bent a whole heap of pins), tailored to fit my oversized three seater sofa.

It was relatively straightforward, draping, folding and pinning in stages, but incredibly bulky and difficult to manoeuvre in the space on my little Pfaff. I had to engage the machines IDT because occasionally the fabric just wouldn’t budge, there was just sooo much of it.

I topstitched all the seams FullSizeRender (3) and made the ties in the same fabric IMG_2441 now I need to make new cushion covers in a complementary shade as that red is just a bit too jarring 😦

You may ask why am I recovering a sofa? It’s simple really, back in the day when my (now ex) husband and I had more money than sense (and no children or dogs), we spent a ridiculous amount of money on a Parker lounge suite. It was late eighties peach coloured in the softest leather, truly a marvel of furniture-making and I am loathe to get rid of it. He got the chairs, I got the sofa. Sadly, the leather has deteriorated over time, helped along by dog toenails and the usual family high jinks, but it is still amazingly comfortable. Now I am on my own, I cannot afford to replace it with anything close to its quality, hence the cushion covers and slip cover.

I think one day, it may find itself in a share house with either of my young adult children taking it with them, only then will I replace it (and I will be a little sad to see it go), but for now, it is staying put.

One question, given I am into colour, what do you suggest for the cushions? All helpful hints will be considered 🙂

Update- thanks everyone for your help, I went with this very busy boho printed upholstery fabric, nice and thick and comfy- I love it!


Does pride goeth???

I am just a teensy bit proud of my latest efforts in making.

(What feels like) a couple of years ago, I started working on a piece of fabric, learning to do free motion machine embroidery, it was not really a project as such, more a scrap which could turn into something. The fabric was a piece of Ikea stuff that I had made a top out of and I liked it, I may have even mentioned it some time ago (but I can’t be bothered looking- sorry-not!).

Anyway, as time went on and it got to look a bit nicer, I thought I might make it into a cushion for my Mother. She was an embroiderer (hand) in the past and really likes soft furnishings with that kind of embellishment (as do I).

So, to cut to the chase… I used a whole bag of stuffing so it’s nice and firm and heavy, plenty of support for Mums back and here it is 🙂


On the weekend, I wondered why it took me so long to make and besides the amount of time each little picture took to embroider (between 20 minutes and an hour each!)  I realised that it was because my ex-partner resented the time I spent sewing. I am relishing the freedom to do as I wish with my time and not be beholden to look after the emotional needs of a very needy person, it is blissful.

One of the activities I promise myself I will do when I am retired (which is about 16 years away) is ceramics. As a child and teenager I loved working with clay, our property in Darlington was surrounded with beautiful red clay and there was kaolin going begging at the old quarry up the track in Glen Forrest. When we moved to another part of Darlington when I was 12, there was no clay, but my cousin came to the rescue and gave me a huge bag of brickmaking clay from Midland Brick where he worked as an electrician. When my children were smaller, I would go off to Jacksons in Jolimont and buy bags of beautiful terracotta clay for us all to work with. (hmmm, what is stopping me from doing that now I wonder…).

So I don’t have any clay at the moment, but my friend Ange and I went up to Joondalup recently and spent the evening doing china painting at Fired Cafe. Forget pastel roses and dainty teacups, that is NOT my style! I wanted something bold and ended up buying a bowl and painting an oversized paisley on it.

img_2336 (before)

To be honest, I was a little disappointed when I picked it up after the firing, but it has grown on me (I may be even a little bit proud of this too).

img_2335 (after firing the glazes really brighten up)

I am keeping it because it’s a bit rough, but I am going back and will be painting a tray, probably with a “Scandi-style” pattern of leaves or feathers with the idea of giving it to someone as a gift.

Do you ever feel proud of something you’ve done, but keep quiet because it’s not the done thing to “blow your own trumpet”? My parents who were somewhat spare in their compliments and we were not encouraged to think too highly of ourselves. The old saying “Pride goeth before a fall” (is that the right spelling?) makes me reticent to puff up my chest and go “Look at me!”. In some ways I think I am not in the minority amongst people my age; I am thinking something might bring me down a peg or two after this blog post!

As an aside- Salsa has had to be ditched, I am having some pretty intensive physio on my poor, wrecked back and there is no way I am going back on a dance floor in a hurry 😦