1949 Singer Sewing advice

I saw this on Facebook this morning and just had to share it with you all. Apparently it comes from a Singer Sewing Manual from 1949 – isn’t it just gorgeous?

Singer Sewing Manual


Devastated! (And it’s all my own fault!)

Oh, it’s been such an exciting week with my Drape Drape 2 pattern book arriving and I carefully sat down and transferred all the required pattern pieces onto my butcher paper to create the perfect pattern for me!  Did I tell you which pattern inspired me to buy the pattern?  It was Sew Busy Lizzy’s version of pattern number 4 in the book (if you’re not following her, then you’re missing out coz she’s a fellow Aussie and her photography is just beautiful. She lives near the ocean (but about 4,000km from me on the east coast of Australia!) and all her photos have such a beautiful background… go check her out and tell her I sent you! :)

Anyway, did you look at Lizzy’s version of pattern number 4? Seriously the most stunning t-shirt I have ever seen and so I went out searching for fabric that would work. Found a cheap fabric at $10/m that I thought would work for the first version so I could check fit, and drape before spending more money on an expensive fabric. It wasn’t a difficult pattern although it’s a bit of a task transferring the relevant pattern pieces onto my plain paper and then joining them together to make one pattern piece – yes, that’s right: ONE PATTERN PIECE (plus neck binding)!

20140215_141903In the above photo you can see how I’ve highlighted the various pattern pieces that make up the ONE garment i’m wanting to make… actually had to draw all three up and join them! Not too hard but I found it easier to trace the correct size with a highlighter first.

a one-piece pattern for a stunning T-shirt

a one-piece pattern for a stunning T-shirt

I cut out the fabric which was slightly sheer and stretchy and practiced my stitching only to find i couldn’t get the overlocker’s tension right and no matter what i changed, i ended up with very wavy seams so went to the sewing machine instead.

Using toilet paper, i managed to get flat seams… it’s amazing what a difference toilet paper makes (clean, of course!) but by using it as a backing, your fabric has more stability and it sews a lot easier.

See the toilet paper behind the dress fabric? It helps to make the seams flat!

See the toilet paper behind the dress fabric? It helps to make the seams flat!

Here’s what it looks like when I flip the fabric over… and all i need to do is tear the toilet paper away (and any that is left will dissolve in the first wash)!

the back of the toilet paper... and what it looks like once torn away.

the back of the toilet paper… and what it looks like once torn away.

Anyway, I finished the garment but had to iron the neck seams flat and used a Raja Cloth to protect the fabric… and, oops! I moved the iron off the Raja Cloth ever so slightly (by accident!!) and now I have a hole melted into the fabric and I’m so, so sad! Shit, shit, shit, shit!!!!! Such devastation! (I actually cried!)

Oops! It's irrepairable! :(

Oops! It’s irrepairable! :(

And here’s what it looks like on! :(

20140216_174321Isn’t the draping just stunning? I absolutely love it!

Anyway, after the “incident” I went out to buy more fabric and I was pleasantly surprised that the fabric had been since placed on the “reduced” table and was now only $4/m and would therefore only cost $5 to redo (from scratch!). Oh well! Lesson learnt and hopefully the second version (same fabric) will come out a lot quicker than the first one seeing as now i’ve figured out the easiest way to get flat seams, etc.  Stay tuned coz the next copy won’t be far away! :)

I’m glad I’m not one to give up! (That personality trait does annoy the heck out of me!) So if you also end up making a huge mistake like I did please don’t give up. Just start again and you’ll feel so good in the end!

Have a nice night!

Carola x


I haven’t had time to sit down and sew for the last 2 months or so and haven’t even had time to sit down and read the blogs I follow but this morning I brought my laptop into bed with me and caught up with many inspirational reads and am now chomping at the bit to make something new again! I’ve just bought the Drape Drape 2 book online and CAN’T WAIT for it to arrive on my doorstep! Oh, please hurry Mr Postman!!

Formal wear McCall’s 3436

The wedding we attended last week was lovely and the bride (my friend’s daughter) was just gorgeous and even though I don’t have any photos of her at this stage, I do have photos of what I wore to the wedding… my first formal outfit and it really was such an easy garment to put together.  The pattern is McCall’s 3436 and I specifically chose this one as I needed something full length to hide my ugly black moon boot and I thought a two piece garment would be easier to fit (I think I was right with that!).

IMG_9163The fabric is what got me… I saw the olive green fabric with a roll of lace next to it and I was sold because the tones of gold, bronze and copper complemented the olive green so beautifully and I just HAD to make something up in this fabric, regardless of price (well, actually, I originally was shown another piece of lace that was priced at about $180/m… ummm, no… I don’t think so!  I didn’t even spend that much on my OWN wedding outfit!).

IMG_9166Look at those colours!  The cost of the olive green crepe was $42/m and the lace was $65/m. Add on a reel of thread, a zipper and some buttons and the dress ended up costing me $250 which at the end of the day is a lot of money but ended up costing the same as what it cost my husband to HIRE a suit for the day (and he doesn’t even get to keep his!!)

IMG_9175Doing the “Couture Dress course” with Susan Khalje taught me an easy way to pattern match and even though it was a bit fiddly doing this with lace, I’m glad i did it.  Once I had the 7 pieces of lace cut out AND the 7 matching pieces of crepe, I hand basted the lace to each respective crepe piece, making them act as one piece and then assembled the panels as normal. I actually made myself 3 muslins before I was happy with the fit of the top but somehow it ended up not quite as fitted at the hips… oh, well.  It was still doable. Where the buttons close, the patterns match perfectly and it’s those little bits of detail that make me smile from ear to ear!

IMG_9168Here you can see the lovely sandal that I wore on my good foot and yes, the skirt was extremely long, but it served the purpose of letting me feel “normal” for a day! :)


And there is the ugly moon boot that I was trying to hide!

IMG_9199In total I bought 4m of the olive crepe which was 150cm (60″) wide so by being careful how I cut out my pattern, I made sure I had a strip wide enough to make up a matching stole in case it got chilly in the evening (and yes, it did!) In this photo you can even see the matching clutch that made as well!

IMG_9174I didn’t line the skirt because I was concerned that it would all get a bit hot (it’s almost summer here) and the weight of the fabric allowed it to fall beautifully but the only photo i had of the perfect fall it had ended up blurry and I really wasn’t sure it would look ok here on my blog.  The inside of the skirt fabric was shiny and it just slid over my body but I did line the top because of the lace, which would have been scratchy against my skin otherwise.

20131124_160602And here you can see a photo of the actual day with my gorgeous husband who certainly scrubs up OK in a suit and tie (note the tie is gold, to complement my dress!)  We had a wonderful afternoon/evening and I even got up on the dance floor with Rick and slow danced to a couple of songs… yep, moon boot and all!

Since the wedding, I’ve had 2 cortisone (steroid) injections in my left foot and the pain seems to be easing… eventually I’ll be able to wean myself off the boot and get back into normal footwear again.  Looking forward to this very, very soon! :)

Hope you have a wonderful week!

Carola x

The fast is over…

Wow, I looked at the calendar last week and noticed that my anniversary date had been and gone and I’m now free to go out and buy some clothes!  I bought myself a new pair of jeans but that’s all I really feel like buying at this stage coz at the end of the day, I’d rather sew my clothes to get a better fit and to be able to wear unique clothing.

Am I happy with my year of fasting from ready-to-wear clothing?  Yes, I am but I’m disappointed that I didn’t have more time to sew and therefore made fewer items than I planned.  There are so many unmade garments in my sewing room that I’m dying to dive into and just because the fast is over doesn’t mean that I’m giving up on sewing.  On the contrary. I have learnt to be a better sewist and am neater and more accurate now and I get so much pleasure out of creating the clothes that I wear.

A couple of items that I’m in the middle of (ok, not in the “middle” but I’ve bought my fabric and added length to my patterns) are:

  • a full length formal skirt (to hide my moon boot that I’m sadly having to wear again!) with a matching formal top for a wedding at the end of November (almost summer by then)
  • a slinky nighty/slip which will be trimmed with lace!
  • some stretch fabric dresses (and the fabric I’ve chosen is AMAZING!!)  
  • t-shirts and tops for summer

OK, so this was just a short update to let you know where I’m at at the moment. Enjoy your week and I hope to show you some more sewing photos soon.

Carola x

Oh, PS: The full length skirt I’m making is a self drafted skirt from my own skirt block – maybe, if I get time, I’ll show you how I drafted the pattern. :)

A sewing room…

I finally have a sewing room which isn’t really anything special except that it’s the first time in my life that all my sewing equipment has been in one room that i can shut off from the world whenever I choose to.  It’s a makeshift room really because at the end of the day it’s also my daughter’s room (for when/if she ever returns from Melbourne) but if she saw it the way it is right now, I think she’d faint! The boxes in the left corner contain all her belongings and the bed has been disassembled and the mattress is standing on its side behind the ironing board.  The mattress actually conveniently doubles as an ironing rack (ie: BEFORE its ironed!! haha)… handy, eh? LOL

Here are a couple of photos – please remember that it’s just a mish-mash of furniture and eventually I’ll rearrange it and make it into a true sewing room with more functional furniture but for now I’m as happy as a pig in shit! :D


Everything together in one area of the house behind closed doors! LOVE IT!!

Sewing machine and overlocker both ready for action!

Sewing machine and overlocker both ready for action!

So I guess you can expect to see more sewing action happening in this corner of the world.  I’m starting with a skirt and then going to do The Classic Tailored Shirt (Craftsy course) WITH my penfriend (technically not the right word but you all know what I mean), Dina, who lives in Indonesia.  I love how the internet opens all these new avenues for new friendships and motivation.  Bring it on!!


Hello, this is me again…

Wow, I feel like a bear who has been in hibernation for 8 weeks and yikes, I can’t believe that it’s been THAT long since I last posted anything (let alone sewed anything).  I may have mentioned that I started a new job as a Thermomix Consultant, basically doing in home cooking demonstrations using a Thermomix and my first 60 days is finally over and the pressure is off!  I needed to sell a certain number of Thermomixes in that period and I’m happy to say that I have started my time with Thermomix on a good foot and can now slip into a slightly more relaxed mode which will include sewing again.

My 19 year old daughter has moved to the other side of Australia 5 weeks ago and I’ve been painting rooms and having new carpet laid so that I can have a sewing room of my own (until she returns!).  Guess what?  It’s happening and I’m so excited to be setting it up right now with the help of my husband.  It will double up as a spare room and will also be the dreaded “junk” room, BUT I will be able to close the door to all the mess and for now I don’t care!  So excited to be starting my sewing again very, very soon.

And…. I haven’t forgotten about the excel spreadsheet and the instructions on how to draw up your own skirt block so I think I will start with that.  It won’t be long.  Thank you all for your patience.  More VERY soon! x