Heatwave Down Under

While most of the blogging world is experiencing snow, rain and cold, cold weather, here in Perth we’re experiencing a heatwave with temperatures soaring at around 40°C (about 104°F!!) for about a week so far with no signs of cooling down until after new year. We live near the beach (about 5 minutes drive) and also have a pool (which is a good thing really coz in this extreme heat it’s too hot to walk on the beach sand plus Western Australia has recently become the deadliest place in the world for shark attacks!!) Oh dear, and to think that I paddled across 20km (about 13 miles) of ocean 2 years ago to Rottnest Island in my kayak.  I don’t think I’ll ever attempt that again but am very glad that I did it!  Here are two of my favorite photos from that particular day and no, we didn’t encounter any sharks, thank goodness!

You can see the bottom of the ocean

You can even see the bottom of the ocean – it was magic!

Me just chilling on the beautiful ocean...

Me just chilling on the beautiful ocean… and yes, I even had dark hair back then!

Anyway, so now that the ocean isn’t as popular as it used to be (and hey, I still go for a swim every now and then and it’s just divine but I’m just cautious these days!), how do we stay cool?  Well, I stay indoors and sew and what do I sew when I don’t feel like wearing very much at all?  I sew swimwear!  Today I made my first pair of bikinis and am almost hesitant to share the photos with you all as they are a bit bare, but in the name of sewing and sharing what I’ve learnt here goes nothing…

M5400 030 M5400 036 M5400 020The pattern is McCall’s M5400 and I’ll be honest and tell you that the only reason I bought it was because it was CHEAP! ($2.99) and I figured that I’d rather trial swimwear sewing using inexpensive patterns and fabrics. The fabric is amazing and I love, love, love the colours as they are so very me.  It has shiny silver circles all over it and the fabric itself is relatively thick and feels great.  The most expensive part of this whole exercise was the swimwear elastic at $1.10 per meter and i needed 5 metres.  50cm of the fabric cost me $5 so all up, for under $15 I have a terrific bikini (fully lined!) and I’ve learnt to sew stretch lycra.  I’m not sure if I used the correct stitch but it’s a curvy zig-zag and has certainly given me a look that I can live with.  The neck strap is not adjustable and I probably should have added a bit more into it for my longer body and I think that the elastic down the middle of the “v” at the front is a bit loose but I didn’t know how to test this prior to adding all the other parts and now that all the other parts have been added it’s too hard to unpick and correct.  Oh well, at this price I can afford to make a second pair.  I like these bikinis much better in real than on the cover of the pattern and know that I will now go out and dare to make more expensive swimwear (using more expensive patterns too!).

Well, I must head out for a dip in the pool now to test my new swimwear out… let’s hope they work!  So from hot, hot Perth I wish you a wonderful day no matter what the weather!



Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

One of the things I love about sewing and sewing blogs is that sewing patterns are available all over the world.  If I were a cook and blogged about cooking and recipes there would be so many ingredients that are unheard of on each continent and the measurements are different too (eg: metric cup is different to an imperial cup… go figure!)  How frustrating!!  I’m glad I sew (yeah, i know that centimetres and inches are slightly different, but I can work in both so I don’t care!). Sewing rocks!  YEAH!!!!

Merry Christmas to you all and I look forward sharing more of my RTW Fasting adventures in 2013.  I’m loving all your support and look forward to a fun filled year next year. Enjoy fantastic company, taste great food, sip lovely beverages and stay safe.

Carola x

Got my sewing mojo back!

It’s been a very busy few weeks and I can’t believe that it’s been so long since I posted something last.  Part of me felt disheartened by my sewing “failures” (I shouldn’t call them failures coz realistically they were sewing lessons learned) and my sewing machine and overlocker were tucked away for almost 2 weeks before I dared to take them out of solitary confinement.

Yesterday I decided to sew a knit dress.  Something I have never ever done before but reading sewing blogs has inspired me enough to give it a go myself and WOW!!  Why did it take so long to give this a go?  Stretch knit is actually so easy and forgiving to work with and even though I had a few hiccups I feel that they were ironed out quite easily and I even wore my new dress out to my last lunch (it is supposedly going to be the end of the world today, afterall!) and I feel I’m dressed suitably for the occasion!

When I first put the dress on this morning to show my darling husband, I said “tadaaaa…. do you like my dress?”  And his comment was slow and simple: he said “Ummm, I like how you made it…”   Huh??  OMG, what the hell is wrong with this dress?  He said “ummmm, I think it looks old fashioned… ?”  (I hate how he raised the tone of the last syllable turning it into a question!!)  OLD FASHIONED??  omg, really?  What’s old fashioned about it? Please be honest coz there’s no way I can post photos of an old fashioned “new” dress that I’ve made with my bare hands. He thinks it’s the fabric.  Oh dear!  I LOVE the fabric.  I love the colours and the snakeskin look and the BLUE (did I ever tell you that that was one of my favourite colours?). I don’t see what you see, dear!  But gee, maybe I am deluded… I don’t know.

Well, I had a Christmas lunch to attend and I was going to wear this dress and the reactions there would determine the fate of this dress.  The lunch came and went and I got very positive comments from the staff I had worked with who all thought my dress was lovely and one of the girls even asked me to make one for her!  OK, that feels more like it!  I was now smiling but no, I really don’t want to sew for other people.  This year is all about me and I’m really not interested in sewing for other people (sorry!!).  So would you like to see it?  Here ’tis:

M6163 028 M6163 030 M6163 036 M6163 017The pattern is McCall’s M6163 and I decided against adding the collar, probably more due to laziness but also because I felt that it would only make this polyester fabric dress even warmer and realistically, here in Perth, summer is rolling in and Christmas day (when I plan to wear this dress next) is set to be a mere 40°C (104°F)!!  I love this dress and I think I will make many, many more like it. Some with 3/4 length sleeves and some with plain fabric.  I think the busy print does tend to lose the rouching effect of the gathered waistline and it’s hard to see that I actually also have a matching sash around my waist.  A plain fabric will probably make this a bit more obvious but all up I’m over the moon and looking forward to wearing more dresses.  I will make my next dress in a more natural and breathable fabric to cater for our hot summers but I know that I will get a lot of wear out of this dress.  I hope my husband can bear to walk to next to me tonight as we head into the city for our weekly Indian dinner on the river.  We go to this vegan Indian restaurant that is very simple and has limited self-serve food to choose from but the tastes are out of this world and it’s lovely to sit outdoors overlooking the Swan River and enjoying a meal without our children (who are now old enough to leave at home).  Bliss.  The beauty of this restaurant is that you pay whatever you think it’s worth.  Honest!  Uni students may only pay $3 or $4 for their huge plate of food and others will pay more like $20.  We go somewhere in the middle and pay about $10-15 depending on how we feel on the day.  Honestly a great meal even though the decor leaves a lot to be desired but the location is spectacular and I always look forward to our weekly visit there.  If you enjoy Indian food and are vegetarian (or even vegan) you really should check this restaurant out if you’re ever in Perth… Annalakshmi on the Swan Hey, even if you’re a carnivore, I reckon you’d love it here.

The perfect last supper before the end of the world…. I actually thought that last night’s meal was our last but so far we’re still around so let’s hope that we’re all here to stay for a bit longer and we can continue blogging and sewing for a while to come!

Carola :-)

Stretch fabric problem solved…

Thanks to everyone for their comments regarding my latest fabric shrinkage dilemma. I haven’t had a chance to reply personally but I have good news (and bad news)… bad news is that the fabric I have already washed and cut can be thrown out! :(  But the good news is that I called in at the fabric shop where I bought these lovely pieces of stretch fabrics and Misty (the lady with a mountain of expertise in fabrics) told me that hand washing is best with her fabrics, especially rayon (as it is known for its unpredictability!).  And, get this… she even gave me a replacement piece so that I could try one more cowl neck top!  She’s an angel and she put a smile on my dial.

Unfortunately the store doesn’t have a website, but it’s called Potter Textiles and they’re located in Leederville.  A lovely small shop that is predominantly a wholesaler but they also sell direct to the public.  Check it out!

Also, I just read what Sarah from Goodbye Valentino wrote about me and my skirt block (and my excel spreadsheet!) and I just wanted to let you all know that I will get onto that as soon as possible but have had to focus on a few other things at the moment.  I’d like to think that I can do this before Christmas but it’s not called the silly season for no reason! Stay tuned and enjoy your week… you’ll be the first to know once I’m ready.  Ciao!




HELP… anyone?

Jersey knits, stretch fabrics, t-shirt material, whatever you call it… I’m having a hard time working with it.  I always pre-wash my fabrics prior to cutting and sewing them up but the fabrics that I have just washed came out of the washing machine completely out of shape so I have dried them flat on my bed and then once dry, I’ve folded them and cut them as per the pattern.  One of the pieces ended up with Steam-a-seam on the right side of the fabric so I needed to wash it again (before sewing it all together) and after washing it I find that the piece is now so very distorted I feel like I shouldn’t waste my time continuing.

This fabric isn’t cheap fabric by any means either. I could accept it if it was only $2 per metre.  But no, I spent between $18 and $25 per metre on this one and it’s annoying me so much.

Does anyone have any suggestions?  Should I not be lying the fabric flat on my bed and stretching it back to shape, creating a “straight” grain that isn’t really straight at all?

Grrrrrrrr, time to take a break and clean the house again (have any of you noticed a pattern with me?) LOL

PS:  the fabric I am talking about right now is 95% Rayon and 5% Spandex.  I hope someone can enlighten me. Thanks, in advance! x