Saturday, July 31, 2010

Desiccated art

The art of dried flower arrangements.  Did a few once (a few years ago now).  This is one made for my parents, and they are obviously much gentler in their housekeeping than me since this is the only one left out of several.  It has yellow, apricot and ivory flowers (these have faded a bit) against a soft background of blue/grey and sage green foliage.  I had also made a lovely one out of blue and red flowers and a background of soft grey green leaves on eucalyptus boughs and had it hanging in our lounge room.  One day I took it down for cleaning, accidentally dropped it and it was sadly no more; disintegrated into a million pieces.
There is an art to drying flowers in order that they retain a. their shape, and b. their colour, or their colour in at least some degree of intensity.  Some colour is essential in order for the arrangement to avoid looking like so much kindling...  The pieces done well can have a desiccated melancholy about them that can be charming.  The lifeless tissues of once blossoming things have a sadness clinging about them; the opposite reaction that a living flower arrangement incites, the optimism and freshness and glorious fruitfulness inherent in the beauty of a living thing...
Mum and Dad have managed to preserve it so well and I'm so glad it still suits the rustic charm of their cottage.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Takes the Bronze

My new cocktail dress...
I'm kind of in love with it.  Wish I could be wearing it all day, if that was in all way appropriate (might attract a few sideways glances in the supermarket, for one)  And as for my work in the office... well the pussycats might appreciate that I went to the effort.  Oh, hey you look great, but really, you shouldn't have.  Not for us.  Just going to be vying for prime position on your lap as usual, is all...
 I did meet some gals for morning tea this morning, but as I was easily the most dressed up (in exactly this outfit, my new favourite since I finished it, and have worn it three times in the last three weeks now) then the new cocktail dress would have been a tad overkill.  Sadly.
The flavour of this design is kinda eighties, I reckon.  The silhouette is reminiscent of the costumes we were treated to on Dynasty; the exaggerated shoulders (and how cool are they?!!!!) the peplum.  The mid-knee length.  The clever designer of this pattern however has taken the essence of that genre and given it a modern little twist.  The asymmetry of the collar treatment.  The jagged uneven teeth on that peplum.  I think that's why I was drawn to this new design.  Classic shape but with an edgy funky strangeness about it.  A slightly off, not very faithful interpretation of a shape now considered way old hat.

Dress; Vogue 1155, "antique" silk taffeta
Shoes; Misano, from Labels
Bag; gift from my husband, early on in our marriage

Pattern Description
Semi-fitted, lined, above mid-knee length, fully interfaced dress has princess seams, midriff, peplums, two piece short sleeves, wrap front with buttons, hook and eye closures
Pattern sizing
6-12.  I cut size 10
Did it look like the drawing/illustration on the patten envelope after you had finished sewing it?
yes, except I had added 7.5 cm to the overall length, and ended up overlapping the fronts a bit more to get better coverage
Were the instructions easy to follow?
The instructions were clear.  Bear in mind this is an Advanced/Plus Difficile pattern.  There is a rather bewildering instruction in one part; steps 28-31 would have you sew the midriff section to the bodice, then sew the midriff facing at the ends of the midriff only, turn right side out and handsew the top level of the facing on the inside.  (??)  A far better method to complete this part is the traditional way, ie, right sides of the midriff and midriff facing together encasing the bodice, the sew the three layers together in one clean seam.  This is how I did it.
What did you particularly like/dislike about this pattern?
I love the design, and how it looks.  Totally love those sharp out-there shoulders.  It has pockets!  How many evening dresses have pockets? precious few and there should be more...
The shape is a little boxy for my tastes and not as fitted as I would have liked, so I made a few fitting alterations to get a bit more shape into it.  I  also didn't like how the entire dress was to be interfaced.  Iron on interfacing has it's rightful place, but for an entire dress?  I don't think so...
Fabric used:
Silk taffeta, or silk dupion
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
The instruction to apply fusible interfacing to every piece gave me pause.  Eventually, because I was using very stiff fabric which has a lot of its own body already, I decided to just interface the facings, as traditionally.  I also interfaced the sleeve cap pleats once sewn in place, as these need to be quite stiff to look good.
I added 7.5cm to all skirt and skirt facing pieces, as I thought the dress looked very short on the pattern photograph.
Step 28-31, sewed the midriff facing and midriff to the bodice in one clean seam, rather than in the piecemeal method outlined in the instructions.
I have a narrow torso, and removed about 3cm width here overall,  graduated around each of the midriff sections. When it came to sewing on the buttons and hook and eye closures it was still a little loose about the midriff and the skirt gaped a little more than was comfortable for me, so I also overlapped the front pieces a little more (another 3cm) than indicated in the instructions.  Overlapping the fronts a bit more gave a better fit for me and made me feel better covered up.
Would you sew it again?  Would you recommend it to others?
I might sew it again.  I wouldn't mind a black version now!  I would recommend this pattern to advanced seamstresses who like garments with an edgy look, as well as a sewing challenge.
Well, I adore my dress!  Although I reckon this could be categorised as much a coat as a dress.  The construction is just like a lined coat.  And the closure, very coat-like too.  But I feel very modern and sharp in this and am excited about wearing it to special occasions!

Later edit: You WILL need a petticoat or slip with this dress as it gapes considerably when you are seated.  I made one using Burda 8071 in silk satin of the same colour, sitting 2cm shorter than the dress.  It works beautifully.  To see the slip, go here.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

"Le Fauve" socks

I decided to call my newest and latest sock project "Le Fauve" after the distinctive work of the school of painters of the same name.  The Fauvists painted in strong colours, using simple and often crude brush strokes, not letting realism get in the way of the beauty of strident, clashing and sometimes shocking blocks of colour.  At the time of its inception in the early twentieth century the work was seen as too shocking, garnering criticisms such as "A pot of paint has been flung in the face of the public" from the critic Camille Mauclair, but the spirit of this body of work still germinates of a lot of today's art.
The colours of the Kureyon sock wool I used for these socks are slightly shocking in their intensity and refusal to blend into a nice tonal array of like complementary colours, but that is what drew me to this yarn in the first place.
Later edit: I thought "fauve"also meant "wild beast", and on consulting a French dictionary I read "wildcat".  So...  Reaooooooow! (snarling accompanied by claw-slash)

Below: at left, Woman with a Hat, Henri Matisse; at right, Charing Cross Bridge, Andre Derain; below a work by Paul Gaugin

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Black with rose-pink accents

My husband wittily suggested I title my post "Amish chic", he he  cheeky...  It's my hat.  But we've lived amongst the Amish and I never saw an Amish lady in jeans.  "Amish menswear chic"?  I hope not.  I prefer to think I look more ...err, "kind of equestrian"?... yeah, well maybe.
 Yesterday I visited a second hand shop and op shop with my friend E, or "went thrifting" as Americans say...! (lol, I'm already imagining my grandmother, a stickler for correct English, giving me a strict grammar lesson on that one!  But hey, language is supposed to be an organic ever-changing tool for communication, right?  Right.)
Oh, back to the haul.  I got this hat in an op-shop, it's of stiff felt and lovely.  I also picked up two Metalicus cardigans and a lovely beaded Wheels and Doll-baby cardigan second hand, the latter only needs a few buttons stitching on more firmly to be perfect.  Score!!  And I'm so thrilled I got my Metalicus fix without having to break my Wardrobe Re-fashion pledge!
This morning I noticed for the first time that this scarf actually goes beautifully with the little silk chiffon pockets on my cardigan.  A small detail.  Just a touch of rosy pink to warm up the black elsewhere.
And since lately we are having reasonably warm sunny weather today I'm wearing a summer top, a little white lacy short-sleeved thing, last seen here.  Believe it or not I still have three lengths of different white lace in my stash, awaiting my attention...  I'm really being very good about my stash.  I've cut out four more projects ready to go.  Unfortunately three of them still require a visit to the fabric shop, to pick up some needed extras such as a bit of extra lining for one, some matching braid or ribbon for another and some buttons and braid for the other.  I just hope I can escape from the store without succumbing to the siren call of all the new spring fabrics that I know will be there... wish me strength...

Top; my own design variations on New Look 6483, ivory cotton and crocheted lace inset strips
Cardigan; Alannah Hill
Scarf; knitted using 3 balls Colinette chenille
Jeans; Burda 7863, black denim
Boots; Andrea and Joen, from Uggies
Hat;  op shop

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Black, gold and beaded cocktail/ball dress

This is not a new dress (although I have finished my new evening dress and will show it here soon!)  This is an old dress I made about  three years ago, out of lovely matte stiff silk taffeta for the overskirt, very fine black tulle for the underskirt; and the bodice is gold satin with a beautiful beaded, embroidered and sequinned black tulle fabric overlay.  There is black satin ribbon sewed as a decorative detail under the bodice and tied in a little bow, and I also added thin black satin ribbon shoulder straps.  The beaded fabric was very expensive, about $80/metre from memory, so I only bought about 40cm, just enough for the width of the bodice!  There were still some scraps, and the beaded tulle was decorated a little sparse IMO, so I cut out quite a few of the beaded/embroidered motifs from the leftovers and hand-sewed them onto the bodice after it was finished to fill in the gaps and make for a super-luxurious, fully sparkly bodice!    The pattern I used was Burda 8046.  I haven't checked if this pattern is still available, but I'll review it anyway...

Dress; Burda 8046, black silk taffeta, black tulle, gold satin, black beaded/embroidered and sequinned tulle
Sandals; Sachi, bought at some little boutique in Melbourne
Bag; gift from Craig, very early in our marriage

Pattern Description
Close-fitting strapless or halter neck dress with under-bust seam, and bolero jacket.  I made the strapless version of the dress
Pattern sizing
European 32-44 (US 6-18); I initially cut size 38 (12) but ended up adjusting the bodice to be quite a lot narrower.
Did it look like the drawing/photograph on the pattern envelope once you had finished sewing it?
yes, except that I added very thin ribbon shoulder straps to hold it up...!
Were the instruction easy to follow?
very easy
What did you particularly like or dislike about this pattern?
The pattern is fine.  It is very easy to sew up.  I chose it because the shape of the dress fitted the vision I had in my head for this particular dress.  I would have preferred a boned bodice with an internal foundation and waist stay and in retrospect should have constructed the bodice to allow for this...  However I am perfectly happy with the outcome
Fabric used:
Fine black tulle for the underskirt, black silk taffeta for the overskirt.  Gold satin for the bodice and a beaded/embroidered and sequinned black tulle for a bodice overlay.  6mm black satin ribbon sewed on as a decorative division between the bodice and the skirt.  3mm black satin ribbon shoulder straps
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I added thin satin ribbon shoulder straps after fearing that bodice wasn't going to stay up by itself....  They weren't strictly necessary but I wouldn't have felt comfortable without them...
Would you sew it again?  Would you recommend it to others?
I would definitely recommend this as a very easy strapless dress pattern.  Sews up very quickly.  With added straps, it is perfect.  Without straps... not so much
I expect the halter neck version of this pattern is the perfect "very easy ball-gown" pattern, perfectly suited to a beginner project.  The strapless version is easy, but as the design is not fitted very firmly at the waist I can imagine one would be constantly hoinking it up without added shoulder straps...  although maybe a larger-busted woman wouldn't have the same problem.  I do love my dress however and have worn it to at least four or five formal functions with great success.

Monday, July 26, 2010

On growing old gracefully

Today met my girlfriends for a get-together and debrief after the school holidays...  

{You know how when something is troubling you, a good bit of advice is to write a long letter to yourself where you can purge all the negativity out of your system?  Then you are supposed to rip up same letter and toss it out?  Well I just did that with this blog post.  I had written a long rambling lot of introspective balderdash.... I knew it was kinda silly when I wrote it, and even my husband came home and advised me it was not worthy...  the long and short of this is that the "blah blah blah" that was here before is gone from this blog.  If you have already read the first draft of weirdness and scratched your head wondering where was the expected sewing, knitting and fashion, well I apologise sincerely.  Sometimes one needs to vent.  And vent I did.  Sorry!}

Man...  as an afterthought; what on earth am I wearing? back to business... today wearing the khaki and air-force blue colour combo I predicted would be my staple for this winter.  Well, the denim is close enough to the "dirty" blue I'm loving; and the texture and colour of my scarf works just perfectly right for what I wanted, considering I dressed without much thought this morning.  Some of my favourite ensembles have been the result of a rushed thoughtless random grabbing of separates...

Dress; Cue, found secondhand and refashioned here.  
Jacket; Ezibuy
Scarf; knitted by me from various wools
Leggings; Metalicus
Boots; Andrea and Joen; from Uggies

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Casino Royale party, with DIY necklace

Remember back in April I went to a fashion parade and mentioned a stunningly over-the-top necklace?  I had initially thought of a DIY but my jewellery making skills are not fabulous.  So I went back to the store with some friends a while back and had a closer look at the necklace; with a vague view of suggesting it to Craig as a future birthday gift and discovered it was a Tom Binn's design and was selling for $1695, well NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!!  With my usual stingeiness selfless concern for the family finances (he he!) I decided to persist with the DIY after all.  And remembered this tutorial by the amazing Maegan, whose blog is heaps inspiring, she is very beautiful, stylish and creative too...  so every time I've been to op shops and secondhand stores I've checked out the jewellery selection, but I've come to the conclusion Australians just do not get rid of half-way nice jewellery at all but only truly junk jewellery...  so eventually I ended up in Diva where I bought five cheap new necklaces, and also supplemented with one I already had.  And here is the result!
Last night Craig and I went to a Casino Royale party and I decided the event was ripe for excessive bling and luxury and wearing the new necklace...   And I love my new necklace and it got lots of compliments!  And I want to work on it some more and make it even more OTT!
Below is the outfit I wore to the party; glam, no?  We certainly had heaps of fun...  All the guys were in tuxedos and all the girls were super blingy and I wasn't the only one in a fur...  This fur coat was given to me by a friend of my sister-in-law's who had inherited it from a great aunt and who wanted to get rid of it, can you believe it?!...  I wouldn't wear new fur, but PETA-supporters rest assured this is a very old fur coat, older than all of us...
This kinda drab black velvet dress I'm wearing?  I did get this in an op shop with a view to altering it but haven't got around to it yet and this is the "before" look.  It's on my to-do list...

Dress; from an op shop
Fur coat; old old old, given to me
Shoes; Nina, from David Jones
Necklace; made by me from six other necklaces
Earrings; Sophie Kyron

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Australiana Alphabet cross-stitch

I stitched this during the year of 1993.  It was the year we were living in Adelaide, my eldest two were tiny, Craig was away a lot and I spent many evenings alone in the lounge room with this on my lap and a very strong lamp positioned to beam over my shoulder, concentrating on these tiny stitches.  I can remember I set myself a goal of completing one letter each week, and managed to stick to this schedule successfully; I find I always work better to a deadline than to any other motivation...
I had a good friend over there doing one of these same cross-stitches for herself at the same time I was doing mine.  I can still remember it took me over an hour to sort out the embroidery threads that came with the kit; to give you an idea the colours included brown, light brown, very light brown and very very light brown, dark brown, very dark brown and black/brown, and very light mushroom brown, dark tan, tan light tan and very light tan.  Not to mention grey brown, light grey brown, very light grey brown and very very light grey brown!  Laugh!  And that is just the browns!  I'm not even going to start on the greens...  I still have the thread cards on which I've carefully printed out all the colours and also copied the letters needing each one alongside.
It has a different native animal/bird/flower for each letter.  I've included a couple of close-ups of some of my favourite letters; I always loved the colours of the Urchin and the Goanna, my husband favoured the Numbat and Tim like the Australian flag.
Gee, it's been a long time since I did any cross-stitch, and I once enjoyed doing it but now I'm completely over it. Still I'm pretty happy I've got this concrete reminder of what was a very content time for me, when I had a very domesticated life at home with my kiddies.

For those interested in what the letters stand for, here goes:
A; the Australian flag, B; Brolga, C; Cockatoo, D; Dainty Field Mouse, E; Echidna, F; Flannel Flower, G; Goanna, H; Honeyeater, I; Ibis, J; Jabiru, K; Koala, L; Lorikeet, M; Magpie, N; Numbat, O; Orchid, P; Platypus, Q; Quokka, R; Rosella, S; Swan, T; Tawny Frogmouth, U; Urchin, V; Violet (native); W; Wallaby, X; (e)Xtraordinary frill-necked lizard (bit of a stretch, that one!) Y; Yabbie, Z; Zebra Finch

Later edit: Sorry, should have looked this out before, the design is copyright (1984) by Allura Design, PO Box 533, Artarmon NSW 2064, Australia

Friday, July 23, 2010

TGl Friday

Today was meeting friends for morning tea, and another friend for a walk later (and afternoon tea afterwards, no doubt!)  It's a tough life.  My office work can wait until tonight, methinks... and it would be a crying shame to waste a beautiful day like today.  Of course if I said that every day I would get absolutely no work done whatsoever...! but meh.
This is the "Weird Bodice" dress from last winter, that I love for its flattering olive shade, flattering for me, that is; and cute flippy skirt, but has a strange bodice design that needs covering up.  I went for some cheerful happy colours to go on over the top.  I've always had a thing about red, and have always worn a lot of it.  I think it suits my hair colour.  This winter it seems to have dropped off the fashion radar, apart from the currently all-the-rage LRD (little red dress for evening wear).  The shops are filled with drab putty neutral shades, and the ubiquitous BLACK.  Seriously, I was out with a friend a week or so ago, and we passed a boutique where everything on the racks was black, and I mean everything.  It was a marvellous thing, well, it certain had us marvelling, but not in a good way.  Are Perthies so boring in our colour choices, that an all-black shop would stay happily in business?  (bearing in mind it was in a high-ish rent area too)  Bizarre...

Dress; Burda 7897, olive bamboo/cotton mix
Cardigan; Metalicus
Scarf; Frangi, from Tie-Rack
Tights; Kolotex
Shoes; Django and Juliette, from Zomp shoes
Bag; Gucci

Thursday, July 22, 2010

"Plenty long enough" socks

So these are socks I knitted this winter, using leftovers.  The top part (my favourite part) is the leftover Grignasco yarn from here, below that is the last remnants of the Patonyles wool (the shrink-tastic one) and the lowest part going down to the toes is some new sock yarn I bought this year for this purpose; a brand called Koigu, 100% Merino wool made in Canada.  Up until I spotted this yarn I didn't know Canadians were into Merino like us Aussies and Kiwis here, so there you go.... learn something new every day...
Like my twee little name suggests (and please accept my apologies for the weak humour) I made these socks easily long enough for my foot and then a little more some, just in case of a reoccurrence of the dreaded washing machine shrinkage.
Although this.  Will.  Not.  Occur.  (gritted teeth, shaking fist threateningly at washing machine)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Snow Bunny" beanie

I know, I know, the name I've given my new beanie is kind of ridiculous and inappropriate, given today's weather you can see in my photo here; blazingly brilliant sunshine in clear periwinkle skies...  it's OK, I'm happy to have the irony in my life.  I love the sunshine absolutely, but I can imagine those of you lucky enough to get snow in your winter must be hiding a chuckle at what our Perth winters are like...  When we do finally get some grey miserable days with storm clouds overhead (which we will) my beanie will seem more fitting, but I wanted to show it off for today since I just finished it the night before last...  and the truth be told I whipped it off for the rest of today because my head got too hot...
This beanie is a plain ordinary beanie, no bells or whistles, made with Patons Jet, a wool/alpaca mix.  I bought ten balls of this at the beginning of winter, so expect to see some more projects in this yarn before winter's out.

Thankyou ladies for the sweet comments you left about my Mum yesterday, she is a beautiful lady and I consider myself the lucky one to have her in my life.

Beanie; knitted with Patons Jet, colour 100
Tops; both Metalicus
Skirt; Vogue 7303, bottle green cotton velveteen
Tights; Metalicus
Boots; Fornarina, from David Jones
Bag; Gucci

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"Jewel" knitted waistcoat

Here is a waistcoat I knitted for my mother, ooh, probably about seventeen or so years ago.  Round about the time Kaffe Fassett was having a big impact on the creative textile world.  I took this photo of her wearing it the last time I went down to stay with Mum and Dad in the country.
The waistcoat is made up of about twelve different wools/cottons/blends in a variety of berry and jewel colours to a Kaffe Fassett "triangles" design I saw in one of his books, and the shape and knitting pattern of the waistcoat is my own design.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Grey wool coat for Spring

I made myself a coat for spring, using McCalls 5525, view B and grey wool fabric, bought back in March on a whim.  So, it took some cutting magic to get this coat out of the small amount of wool I had bought because there really wasn't enough for this pattern!  When I realised this and went back to the store to get some more it had all been sold and I needed to buy a small amount of a different grey wool fabric which I used for the under collar and front facings, you can probably see on the close-up pictures the different fabric on the under/in-side of the coat but I think it's not so different as to stand out in an ugly way.  Actually I think it worked out to be a blessing in disguise, because the second fabric is a much stiffer and thicker felted wool than the outer woven wool fabric, so I decided there was no need to interface, and I think it was the right decision not to do so.  The weight of the two wool layers together feels quite thick and stiff enough...
I lined it with a purply-pink cotton poplin, which makes the weight of the coat perfect for Perth's sometimes chilly but sometimes warm spring weather.  I'm looking forward to wearing it more!

Coat; McCalls 5525 view B, grey wool flannel
Skirt; my own design, charcoal stretch jersey knit
Shoes; Misano, from Labels

Pattern description
Semi-fitted, lined, double-breasted jacket and coat have collar, lengths and sleeve variations, princess seams and side front pockets.  Here I made view B with back vent, sleeves with button bands, topstitch trim and button closure
Pattern sizing
8-16, I made size 10
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you had finished sewing it?
Were the instructions easy to follow?
very easy
What did you particularly like or dislike about this pattern?
I loved everything about this pattern!  I like that it is fully lined, not half lined as some coat patterns are; the inset pockets are in a good position on the front, and the one-piece sleeves are an easy feature
Fabric used:
Woven grey wool for the outer, purple/pink cotton poplin for the lining.  Thicker felted wool fabric for the under collar and facings (because I didn't have enough of the outer fabric)
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I made the pockets slightly larger as I thought the ones in the pattern looked too small for comfort
Would you sew it again?  Would you recommend it to others?
I highly recommend this pattern, the variations mean you can achieve so many looks from this one pattern and I do plan to try some of the others
This is such a stylish and versatile coat pattern.  The pattern is well designed; it went together very easily, all the pieces fitting together as they should with no difficulty.  The one piece sleeves make this a breeze to sew.  I made view B, and I particularly love the flattering asymmetrical collar, very "designer" and slightly retro.  I think this view would work beautifully in heavy satin for an evening coat.  I also particularly like the button bands on the sleeves of this view.  I hand-tacked these bands to the sleeve seams to lessen the risk of them "rotating" around the sleeve during wear.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Birthday scarf

It was A's birthday a week ago, my sister-in-law, and I've made her a loopy scarf for a present.  She has a lovely olive complexion and reddish and caramel highlights in her dark hair, so I'm thinking these warm strong colours will suit her beautifully.  I've held off putting the scarf up here because I think she reads this blog occasionally and I didn't want to spoil the surprise of her pressie by her reading about it and seeing it here first! until I had a chance to go over to visit her...  I hope she likes it!
The pattern I used is the same as this scarf, using one ball of Colinette Fandango, a scrummy all-cotton yarn.

Scarf; knitted using one ball of Colinette Fandango
Top; Country Road
Cardigan; Country Road, found secondhand, originally oyster white and dyed
Jeans; Soon
Boots; Mina Martini, from Marie Claire shoes

Friday, July 16, 2010

Oversized knitwear

The latest Vogue magazine has been singing the virtues of oversized knitwear for this winter.  This isn't a look I go for very often, but I thought for once in a while, why not?  Granted the fashionable colours for this year are more of your putty greys, beiges, caramels, charcoal and black.  Sometimes it is nice though to splash out with a taste of cheery warm scarlet to brighten up the day.
For today I dug out this jumper that I had made for my husband, very early in our marriage.  Definitely pre kiddies, anyhow...  I don't think he's worn it for at least ten years.  I mentioned in a previous post how I occasionally borrowed my husband's clothes, and Caroline commented how her husband's clothes would be HUGE on her, well, lookie here, people, at what my husband's clothes actually look like on me, too!  I think "oversize" and "loose" are being achieved here satisfactorily, no?  I think an oversize jumper can look very cute and sexy, when it is styled right.  It's best worn with close-fitting, if not tight, pants or a skirt; so the big loose top part of your ensemble is balanced out by a sleeker, streamlined lower part.  We have no desire to go out looking at all "dress-up box", now, do we?
This jumper is made using Patons 8 ply, an Australian pure merino wool that sadly seems to have disappeared from the knitting aisles... it came in a fabulous range of pure self colours which lent itself beautifully to fair isle designs as well as one colour affairs such as this one.
I followed a pattern which has long gone so I can't share with you here, sorry.  It was my first go at cables, and once these were de-mystified for me in the making of this jumper I've not looked back.  Now I'm just like, cables? meh... no biggie.

Jumper; made by me, using Patons 8 ply to a Patons pattern
Jeans; made by me, Burda 7863, khaki stretch gabardine
Top (underneath); Metalicus

Thursday, July 15, 2010

"Welcome" plaque

While sewing is my first and fiercest love, I have once upon a time also indulged in other artistic pursuits; including folk art painting.  Anyone else who once joined in the "folk art phase" please don't remind me how long ago that particular fad was, let's keep it our little secret...
I did quite a lot of folk art stuff but gave most of it away and only have a few things left.  The last time I stayed down in the country with Mum and Dad I took this photo of a "welcome" plaque I made for them...
The design is my own and the flower painted on it, for non-Aussies, is supposed to be a grevillea.  It might not be a perfect grevillea but years later I'm still quite pleased with how it turned out.
In sewing news, I am making a wool coat for spring from grey wool flannel which is coming along very nicely, thankyou for asking.  I am getting through that mountainous stash like nobody's business...  But for every handful of strides forward one must expect the obligatory backward step once in a while...  Last week my friend J asked me if she could borrow a favourite dress to wear to a  cocktail party so I went to my wardrobe to hunt out something... and felt deeply depressed at all the lacklustre gowns hanging there.  I hated all of them.  I need some new evening wear, soon!  She borrowed this dress again, a dress I'm still OK with.  Well I'm not ready to toss it out just yet, put it that way.  But I seriously feel in need of a classy evening dress with some pizzazz.  A new one.  Something different from my oldy oldies that have been worn for years...  Something smart and modern.  So I bought this today and some silk dupion in an old gold colour with the evocative name of "Antique".  Excited!  Watch this space...
Oh, I still have about three or four evening outfits I haven't put up here on my blog yet, and will do so at some point.  Promise.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Noro baggy beanie

Boy, I haven't done this for a few weeks!  Trucked my camera and tripod in a backpack down to the river with my dog for a photo, that is...  I walk her along the foreshore every day but taking photos here just seems so much harder during winter and I'm getting lazy.  On a beautiful winter's day like today I should go to the effort more often, no?
So, here is the other baggy beanie I've made for this winter.  This is made using one ball of Noro Kuryon? I think?  I bought this wool a few months ago, and have lost the tag...  It's my own design, but obviously there's nothing tricky or difficult about making a beanie.  The beauty in this beanie is in the lovely knobbly wool, and it's woods-y shades of moss green, heather-y purple, a touch of fungal yellow, all shades of brown and deepest charcoal.

Beanie; made by me to my own design, Noro Kureyon
Skirt; made by me, Vogue 7303, olive green corduroy
Top, tights and cardigan; all Metalicus
Boots; Andrea and Joen, from Uggies

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


These did not start out life as bedsocks, but as proper socks deserving of wearing outside of the house.  Now they look just awful and I'm a bit embarrassed to put them up here, but they are handmade by me so here they are...  Unfortunately these were one pair of the three victims of that notorious Day of the Disastrous Too-Warm Wash and have shrunk (you've seen all of these now), and have been delegated to my daughter's sock drawer.  I'm so lucky she has smaller feet than me (I have HUGE feet) and can wear these socks... 
These were made using the Pastonyle sock wool, which has a very high wool content and a low synthetic content, a no-no for sock wool as it turns out...  it's my own fault for not separating them out from the general washing pile of garments that are a little hardier.  Nowadays I wash all the socks on a wool cycle and have no more nasty surprises when I hang up the washing... we live and learn.

Below; another little face that popped up at me, a sad face this time...  It's strangely ironic that this face appears to be crying, on a day when the skies are weeping copiously too, no?

Monday, July 12, 2010

The pared back menswear look

My ensemble today is inspired by the minimalist pared back look of this Chloe outfit (below)I spied and coveted in my Vogue magazine.  I assumed at first it was from the spring/summer Celine collection that I have raved about in a previous post; an uncluttered simple look that suits me to a T... but no, it is Chloe, Fall 2010.  Obviously the designer Hannah MacGibbon was just as "inspired" by Phoebe Philo's collection as everyone else.  I won't say "copied", these are supposed to be paid creative professionals, after all...!, but you just head over to and have a quick squiz at these two collections side by side and you might raise your eyebrows a little too...
These are the linen pants I made back last year, using Burda 7944.  I love their wide-legged comfortable Annie Hall appeal.  For winter I am wearing my tights underneath and a thick thermal under my top, and I'm warm as warm can be!  So nice the weather has warmed up a tad now the winter rains have come...  
On a different note; when I started this blog I was determined that I would be spicing up my boring wardrobe by trying to accessorise more but looking back I can see my natural look is to be minimally accessorised and I seem to be slipping back to that more and more...  should I fight this?

Pants; made by me, Burda 7944, gunmetal blue linen
Top; Metalicus
Belt; Country Road, had since a teenager
Boots; Mina Martini, from Marie Claire shoes

Photos below; at left Chloe Fall 2010 RTW, middle Celine spring/summer 2010 RTW, right a still from "Annie Hall" filmed in 1977