McCall’s M6512

See?  I have been busy!!  OK, this shirt makes up for the green one that I made and had to throw into a corner (for now) – I love everything about it.  The pattern is M6512 and the only thing I didn’t enjoy about constructing this one is altering the pattern, but then that seems to be an issue with ALL my patterns because I don’t have a “standard” body. Realistically though, it’s also the reason why i LOVE sewing so much because I can alter patterns to fit me right!

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When I look at the photo I think I should have added even more length to the body but that’s something I’ll do on the next one coz I am sure I’m going to make more of these.  The pattern was easy to follow and had some amazing instructions on how to alter the bust (doing a full bust adjustment) and having the correct markings on the pattern itself to tell you where you need to cut the pattern, should you want to do an FBA.  I think for people who would like to trial a few FBAs then this would be a great pattern to practice on coz it’s easy to put together and the instructions are very clear.

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The fabric I chose is actually a lot darker than I had intended but the feel of the fabric was perfect – a light weight 100% cotton with a self embossed stripe.  I picked it up in a half price fabric sale and the buttons actually cost more than the fabric! haha!  Another thing I found really nice about the pattern is that the shoulder tabs are actually positioned to the front of the blouse… novel, in my books! :-)

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And the sewing hasn’t stopped with the shirt!  I have a girls night out tonight and am almost finished with a dress that I am making.  I need to stop typing though so that I can finish it – I only have about 2 hours left to do this and I will blog about it soon!  I hope you’re all well. I follow many of your blogs on my mobile phone but unfortunately I can’t seem to make comments from there so I wait until I am at a computer but by then I can’t remember what I wanted to say anymore!!  LOL  Either way, I love reading about what you’re doing and I get inspired by seeing pictures of what you’re all making!

Have a lovely Friday!!

Carola xx


I’m not dead!

Phew, definitely not dead… just been in a different zone.  I’m working my business harder and I’m finding this incredibly rewarding although I must admit it’s taking away my pleasure time in my sewing room! In saying that, just because I haven’t been blogging, doesn’t mean that I haven’t been sewing.  When I finished my last white shirt (which I wear all the time with so much pleasure!) I bought some green fabric and decided to alter the pattern slightly with different features and I put my heart and soul into it, made self-covered buttons (with the shiny side of the same fabric) and sewed 4 buttons on, tried the shirt on and felt like crying… it was too tight across my bust!  What a freakin’ waste of time that was!!!  OMG I couldn’t believe it!  The shirt hung on my dressmaker’s dummy for nearly 2.5 months before I decided that getting a breast reduction was NOT the answer!! haha, only joking there… certainly wouldn’t be thinking along those lines!   Well the shirt has been put aside but I’ve photographed it so I’ll show you what it looks like.

Self drafted shirt


I just can’t bring myself to finish the shirt anymore but who knows, maybe I’ll finish it and wear it over a singlet with the upper buttons left open!  But for now I don’t want to look at it for a while! :(

I’ve also done a stint in Melbourne when my 20yo daughter (who moved there back in March) had a non-alcohol related fall and broke her jaw in 3 places.  Spending 2.5 weeks with her was lovely (and draining) and the accident wasn’t enough to break her spirits and have her come back home with me.  She has since found herself a flat to share with another 2 people and has a full-time job and she’s loving it all (and almost fully healed). I’m really proud of her!

My sewing has also seen me sew up a couple of Sewaholic Renfrew tops but I haven’t taken very good photos of these at all but none the less, I’ll share what I have with you.

Renfrew T-shirt (Sewaholic)

Renfrew T-shirt (Sewaholic)

Long sleeved RENFREW with a cowl neck (Sewaholic)

Long sleeved RENFREW with a cowl neck (Sewaholic)

They were both very quick and easy to sew up and I really just want to finetune the fit and run off a whole heap more.  Spring has finally sprung here Down Under so warmer weather is heading our way and I welcome the cooler and brighter clothes!

That’s all I have time to share with you at the moment but I did sew more than just that (and am also busy sewing as I type!).  I love sewing and just wish that the rest of my life understood that too!!  More VERY soon! xx

McCall’s M6649

Wow, it’s been a fun fortnight with sewing and drafting and working and babysitting and cooking.  My life is just full of wonderful things and here’s the latest addition to my wardrobe:  McCall’s M6649 which I made with the aid of’s Classic Tailored Shirt course:

IMG_8802As you can see, it’s quite different to any of the pictures on the pattern cover as I chose to not add a pocket, I merged the centre band onto the centre front so I didn’t need to make them separate aaaaaannnnddd, I added length to the cuff so that I could sew three buttons on instead of one.  Yeah, ok, sometimes I get a little carried away with length and maybe, just maybe a tad, I added slightly too much to the sleeve but I’m not worried about it and love the shirt to bits!

You may also notice the ugly contraption on my left foot (called a moon-boot) for my supposed stress fracture in my foot. I’ve been wearing it for 5 weeks so far and last week I had an MRI to see exactly what’s going on.  I find out the results of that MRI in a couple of hours when I see my podiatrist again.  Thank goodness it’s not my sewing foot! :)

IMG_8804If you look carefully, you might be able to see the three cuff buttons… ?? LOL

IMG_8807IMG_8809IMG_8810I won’t make this a long post as I’m very busy but will let you know that I’ve already bought (and washed) my next shirt fabric…. it’s so very addictive and I’m looking forward to starting it soon but as promised I’m going to give some skirt drafting instructions first.  Stay tuned for those!

Happy sewing everyone!

Carola x

PS:  Just got back from the podiatrist and he tells me that I don’t have a stress fracture as suspected, and I also don’t have a tumour (which was something that he was worried about, even though he hadn’t relayed that worry on to me, thank goodness!!)… what I have is a snapped ligament on my second toe and he is still trying to decide whether surgery is the way to go or not!  The way I’m feeling right now, I don’t care… I just want to be able to wear normal shoes again and get back to my normal level of activity!  Either way, now that we know what’s wrong, we can work on fixing it! The only way is up!

1980s Peasant Top

I really enjoyed sitting behind my machine yesterday sewing up this old 1980s peasant top from Kwik Sew 1757.  It’s loose, comfy, feminine and can you believe that I made it up with plain fabric too!!!  Gosh i wish I knew what the fabric was so I could tell you about it but here’s a close up of the fabric itself:

Bought at Spotlight 6 months ago!

Bought at Spotlight 6 months ago!

I love the texture of it and I’m pretty sure it’s cotton. It’s so lightweight and probably a bit sheer on its own which is why I lined the front only with a fine cotton lining.  Because I buy so much fabric these days I’ve had come up with a way to remember what each piece of fabric is and I think I’ve finally come up with a solution: At the time of purchasing the fabric, use your mobile phone to take a photo of the tag on the roll (making sure that you can also see the fabric in the photo). Load the photos onto your computer and store them in a folder called FABRICS.  Those tags are full of all kinds of useful information like fibre construction and washing instructions and it’s a shame if, by the time you go to use it, you’ve forgotten what it was.  Let’s face it, some of us have fabrics that are YEARS old!!  Does anyone have any other useful ways of remembering what they’ve bought?

Anyway, here’s the top I made yesterday and please forgive the photography;  I think I mentioned that whenever I go outside into our glorious sunshine for a photo shoot I end up with glary photos and you lose the detail of the garment; or alternatively, the colour comes up ok but the photo is blurry.  After messing around for 15 minutes trying all sorts of things I gave up and decided to just stick with these few photos, post them to my blog and then move on to a more exciting sewing project. :)

kwik sew 1757 006kwik sew 1757 020

Not sure how i managed to get this photo with better colour... shame it's out of focus though! :(

Not sure how i managed to get this photo with better colour… shame it’s out of focus though! :(

Here I've made it more off-the-shoulder than in the previous shots!

Here I’ve made it more off-the-shoulder than in the previous shots!

When I made this top up, it was supposed to be a wearable muslin but making adjustments to this type of pattern (and fabric) is tricky.  It’s a bit big under the arms and I was too afraid of damaging the fine fibres of this fabric by unpicking it and playing around so I will wear it as it is.  I have some gorgeous fabric that I had intended to sew into a peasant top so now I need to decide what changes I will make and how! Ha ha.  That will be fun.

See the denim shorts I’m wearing?  They’re RTW and I love the colour blue.  Why can’t I buy that shade of blue here in Perth fabric stores??  Grrrrrr!  I love those shorts but they are too big in the waist and HAVE to be worn with a belt.  That’s the story of my life really coz my hips have always been a size bigger than my waist and this is why I am trying to perfect my fit and sew things myself. I think that maybe I should try shopping online but I am worried that it won’t look or feel like I imagined once i receive it.  What are your experiences with buying fabric online?  Any tips?  Any recommended stores??

Anyway, for the rest of today I am going to work on my skirt block.  Hopefully I can complete it, make a pencil skirt and blog about it soon.

Enjoy your weekend!


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!


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 :-)

Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow!

I’ve been busy and I’ve had success! My Thurlow pants are a success and I love the fit of these shorts and am glad that I didn’t give up and instead made 3 or 4 muslins to perfect the fit. Not only did I lengthen the crotch length but I also altered the “centre” point where the front joins the back “under the crotch”!! I have tried to research this topic and can’t seem to find any hard and fast rules about the “correct” spot to have the “centre” so if anyone knows of any “rules” for this topic, please share with me. I’m considering adding a new page to my blog giving a tutorial on how I made the alterations that I used to get the perfect fit for me. Are there other people out there who are interested in seeing the various alterations I made to get to this stage? Who knows… it might help others too.

So I guess you’re all dying to see the finished result of my denim Thurlow shorts…. Denim being denim stretches/gives over time and unfortunately I didn’t photograph them soon enough so they’ve eased a bit and I probably should’ve worn a belt (which I can, of course, because I added the belt loops!). Personally I find the fabric a bit busy with all those tear holes that make it look like spotty denim, but I love the shade of the blue. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a plain denim in that shade so this is what I got… plus, it only cost me $4 per metre because the fabric was soiled (but it all washed out fine!!) Big smile on my face! :)

denim Thurlow shorts

Notice the plain denim welt pockets?? (made of the selvedge)

And the title of this post is actually relating to another project that I finished today. I made a cowl neck top (McCalls M6078) and I love, love, love it so very much. The neck line is just gorgeous and falls so nicely. The fabric is 95.5% Ray (I presume that is rayon) and 4.5% spandex… it has a lovely weight to it which I think helps with the way it falls. It will be interesting to see how other stretch knits compare with the same pattern.

McCalls M6078

A couple of changes I will make with the next top I make: make it one size smaller, change the hem line to a curve and do the hemming with a walking foot to get a flatter finish. Can’t wait to try it but have to work tomorrow and Friday so probably won’t be able to do this until the weekend. :( Oh, i wish I could sew all day!