The Stockholm Cowl

Things have been very quiet here on the sewing front for the last few weeks. Not like me, I know, but things have been nothing short of crazy. To summarize:

– We bought a block of land just before I went overseas
– I spent two weeks overseas
– The weekend after I was back was spend doing more painting, tidying etc
– We listed our house for sale that Monday
– We had the epic Brisbane meetup
– I think (hopefully not jinxing) we have sold the house already (not bad after one week on the market)

So what are the plans for this weekend??? RELAX!!!!

I have a few blog posts to catch you up on with things I made before I went away, but at the clever Lizzy‘s suggestion I might roll them into one post. Then it is time to get back into some sewing. I have so many plans.

First up a Sew Dolly Clackett dress. I actually have plans for about three of these, possibly because it is not a huge departure from my normal style. But I am currently obsessed with two patterns, the first is the Kielo wrap dress from Named – have you seen Donna‘s version? This is what convinced me – I am even tempted to make it for a friend, I don’t normally do selfless sewing, but I know she would love it.  When I first saw this come out I was completely unimpressed, but having seen it made up and in a knit fabric I am sold. I really wish more independent patterns would release the technical drawings for perusal too (if they don’t have them I don’t buy them). The tech drawings on this don’t show the wrap and the model version is made in some kind of Georgette by the looks of it so to me looked very blergh.  Me, I am envisaging it shorter and in a solid colour (to be determined by availability), unfortunately I was not blessed by enough height to make the maxi work.

The second dress I am obsessing over at the moment is the Pia Dress by Tessuti.  Again, not normally my style but I like how relaxed it is and the arty, funky feel of it.

Clearly I am feeling like trying a few new things – watch this space to see how it goes!

Now to share another project with you, this time knitting.  You might have noticed in my coat post the giant cowl I was wearing? It is the Stockholm Scarf, a free to download pattern on Ravelry.


The yarn is Berocco Ultra Alpaca, gorgeous, soft and scooshy knit and not scratchy at all (hubby bought it for me for Xmas, isn’t he good?). Best of all it is super warm! The pattern is a super straightforward combination of knit, purl, knit togethers and yarn overs which I think a beginner could tackle no problem. Once you have done a few rows, the pattern all becomes clear and it is much easier.  I made mine12″ wide instead of the 14 ” suggested, I also did this in the round and my Ravelry notes are here noting the changes to the pattern required to do this.  Knitting to 12″ is perfect as it only uses two hanks of yarn, otherwise I think you would need to break into a third making it a pretty expensive scarf at $20/hank.  The great thing about this cowl is that it is fully reversible.


So that’s my weekend planned, not bad since it is only Wednesday huh? What sewing projects are you working on? Anything new and exciting I should look at whilst I am branching out??


The inaugural Brisbane Meetup

Yesterday in Brisbane, it was (unusually) a dreary day, however dedicated sewists from far and wide descended on the Brisbane Marriott for the inaugural High Tea Meetup.  In all, 27 people attended, a fabulous turnout!! Even Lizzy from Sewbusylizzy travelled up for the weekend!


So much colour, even the maître-d noticed that we were all fabulously dressed, of course upon finding out we all sewed his first question was “does anyone do hemming?”  “aaaah, no I don’t think so, we don’t tend to do alterations” was my somewhat diplomatic response. I then proceeded to introduce him to the wonders of hemming tape, I am sure that would be much easier for the poor height deprived man.


Back to the festivities, fabulous food was consumed, bubbly was consumed and of course then there was the swap!

I love the concentration on Lizzy's face in this pic
I love the concentration on Lizzy’s face in this pic

Boy oh boy was there some treasure, we had to set up one table for patterns and one for fabric. Just about everyone walked away with something new to them, even those that were trying to resist!


I was expecting the swap to be crazy, but apparently we are civilized ladies and it wasn’t the elbowing and screaming that I might have envisaged, yeah I admit, that would have been pretty entertaining 🙂

Gail, Jo, Angela and Michelle

The fabulous ladies in attendance:

Reana Louise, Donna, Lizzy, Sarah, Susie, Dorlene, Michelle, Christine, Rosi, Sofie, Angela, SueJulie, Lana, Sophie, Erin, Gail, Jo, Bianca, Karen, Colette , Kat , Denise,  Judith, Karen, Marjorie and Alice.

With the ever stunning Reana Louise

I didn’t have time to make a new dress for the occasion but pulled out my Alannah Hill floral number blogged here.

Instagram was going pretty crazy with excited photo posts and we have now decided that we will be meeting up much more often. We have a new Brisbane Spoolettes page on Facebook and have decided we definitely need more events, because more events equals more outfit opportunities!! Such a fabulous day and I for one left with an exceedingly croaky voice!! Gee I love meetups!

Meet ups and travelling

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you will know that I am travelling at the moment.

I found out early in February that I was needed to judge a competition in Holland in March. As it takes such a long time to travel from Australia to Europe, it is always nice to add a few days on either side.

This time I decided to spend a few days in London before heading to the competition in The Hague. After putting a call out on Twitter to see who would be around, the lovely Jo from sewlittletime started to email the Spoolettes and before I knew it dinner & drinks were arranged for the Tuesday night! Also Roisin and I were chattering in twitter and I had shoe shopping booked in too. Then I saw Amy was in London too and fabric shopping was arranged for the Monday!


Starting with Monday, we met at Goldhawk Road at 11am, all up there were six of us Rachel (fresh from Project Sewn), Amy, New Mood Blogger Fiona, Inna, Alana and I. We shopped for treasure, stopped for a spot of lunch and of course a little more shopping. In preparation for the sewdollyclackett challenge, I bought the swimming ladies. Obligatory I thought! I also bought a lovely cherry print.


A fabulous day!

I didn’t sleep that night as had seen some rayon that day that I didn’t buy and I kept dreaming about it so the next day I had to head back to buy it, I knew that it would bug me forever if I didn’t! (Hmmm where is my pic of this? Writing on my iPad at a cafe, this is tricky! Sorry you’ll have to wait)

That night I met Roisin for a spot of shoe shopping. Unfortunately neither of us saw any shoes we had to have but it was lovely to meet the famous Dolly Clackett, she is just as brilliant in person as you might expect.

We then headed to dinner with the fabulous Spoolettes Jo, Nicole, Clare, Tania, Elena and Sally. Again, it was like meeting old friends and the night was over before I knew it. We all chattered so much I forgot to take any pictures until I was on the way to the tube!


What an awesome bunch of people, I love that I can travel to the other side of the world and have people I can meet, that make me feel welcome and like I have known them forever.

Can you feel it?

I made a couple of the Maria Denmark Kimono Tees before Christmas and hadn’t got around to blogging them. Why? Because I am just not feeling the love.  Since making them, one in November, the other late December, I haven’t really worn them. But in the interests of sharing the good and the bad, here we go:

I like the one on the right a little more, perhaps the broderie anglaise on the fabric helps give it a more girly feel? I feel a bit masculine in the stripes outfit.

I was trying to figure out what the problem is. Is it:

a. the colour?
b. the style/silhouette?
c. the fabric choice?
d. or all of the above?

So this led me to thinking about colour palette…maybe I am not really sure what colours suit me.  I know what I like, but are they the best for me? Some stumbling about on the webs and I found this post regarding colours and what suits various colourings.  Based on this I am either a Summer or Spring, I can’t quite decide.

Summer Colour Palette
Spring Colour Palette

When I look at the palettes and what I think suits, I think I am a Summer, some of those Spring colours really do me no favours. I am terrible with yellows and yellow-y browns. But then I found this article which said I should have cool undertones and the Spring description seemed more like me. So now I am more confused than ever. I really like the colours in the Spring Palette, except the yellows, orange and browns. I like more of the Summer colours, although have never really explored purple/lilac. Argh – dilemma!!

Then I got to thinking some more…perhaps it is the silhouette. Normally I wear fit and flare dresses, or alternately tighter pants with a loose top.  This is just kind of baggy all over and I don’t have a waist.  Would the tops work better tucked into a skirt? I have been following along the Colette Wardrobe Architect series and interestingly this week is about exploring shape, not my shape, but the shape of clothing I feel most comfortable in.  On reading the post, I think I have had a personal revelation. I need a waist, I somehow need it defined, whether it be with a fit and flare dress or with a belt, it needs to be defined.

So in essence there is nothing wrong with these tees, but I need to find a way to wear them.  I think the first option is to make a girly skirt to balance out the lack of detail and to give me a waist. Or am I wasting my time? Is this colour not for me? Honesty please! (side note – perhaps I should wear makeup)

Have you looked at the Seasonal Colours before?  Do you think they are for real, or a bit of rubbish?

Brisbane Meet Up – 30 March

Ahoy Brisbanites (and of course anyone else who would like to join!), it is now time for us to be social too! After seeing all the other great blogger meetups in Melbourne, the London, Birmingham etc, it is about time for us to have a meetup of our own.

The lovely Kat (Petticoats and Peplums) and I are organising a meetup and would like you all to get out of your sewing rooms and to join us for an afternoon of chatting, eating and a swap!!  All are welcome, and of course you don’t have to have a blog.

From some preliminary discussions on Twitter, we have decided on 30 March and we already have good interest, even from out of State bloggers! The venue is yet to be finalised and is dependent on numbers, but we are hoping for somewhere at Southbank for ease of transportation.

rainbow cake

Have I convinced you to come along?  If so, please leave a comment below with your email address. We will then email once we finalise the venue etc.

More details soon – put it in your diary peoples!! 

The stats are in…

The sort is complete and my sewing room is now super tidy! I love it this way and already feel a sense of relief (mission accomplished? no fabric diet needed????)

The fabric on the left I use to cover the off season fabric to prevent fading

There is another basket of fabric that has two lengths of coating fabric and some jersey that didn’t fit in the allotted space, but still, not as bad as I thought.


I love that I can now see my chaise and use it as an extra workbench.

Each of the fabrics I went through, measured and folded neatly. I took a swatch of each and stuck it to cards that I made up. The cards note the type of fabric, yardage, where I bought it from, the cost (if I know) and a spot for pattern ideas.


I have then put the cards onto one of those giant key rings to keep them all together and make them easy to flick through. Also the pile was a bit high and kept falling over! This is a nice easy way for me to see what I have without having to have all the fabric on show, I can also take these cards with me if I need to get notions. I can easily see what yardage I have if I change my mind on what the fabric is to be for.  In my defence, I have a vision for all of the fabric, I know whether each piece is meant to be a dress or top or whatever, I just may not always have in my head exactly which dress I want to make.


If you would like to print off your own cards you can download the template here: Fabric Organizer.  Sorry US peoples, this is only in A4 format, but let me know if there is a demand and I can do another one 🙂

Ok, so now down to the nitty gritty (if you have read this far).  My total is (drumroll please)…..

72 pieces of fabric totalling 169.5 metres

Quite a lot I admit and an average of 2m per garment that is enough to keep me going for well over a year!!  Eeek.  I would love to get it down to 50 pieces, or maybe 100m this year.  I think this is achievable. Normally I average one garment a week so it is possible, although I don’t want to just rush things to get through the fabric. I still want quality, well fitted garments.

Right, I’m off to do some sewing!!

Better get moving then!!


Teehee, did I scare you that I was going to get thin? Highly unlikely, I like dessert too much! What I was really alluding to is that my fabric collection is getting out of control and so I am, sort of, halfheartedly, going to participate in the Stash Diet organised by Gail and Andrea.

Stash Diet

Now I know most sewers get a bit obsessed at this time of year about tidying and cleaning up. My plan is not to become obsessed or OTT about it, just a concerted effort to use and not forget some of the fabrics I have.

So here goes, here is my stash:


Not too bad is it?  Just three little cubes of the Expedit cabinet. The cube on the top left has winter fabric, covered up so that the ends don’t fade. Three of the baskets underneath hold lining, scraps and some patterns I am contemplating getting rid of.

Alright, alright, there might be a little more:

Ok, and a bit under the ironing board:

So the idea is, all of it is supposed to fit in the three cubes of that cabinet.  Ideally in baskets as well to keep it from fading. So my goal is to make it fit into the allotted storage spot!!

Step 1 – take stock of what I have. My plan is to go through and work out exactly what I have, the yardage etc and catalogue it (I have a plan for this). I wonder if it is too scary to work out the total yardage??

Step 2 – donate to charity or give away what is not wanted

Step 3 – Sew!

My own (personally set) rules are as follows:

* I will do 80% of my sewing in 2014 from stashed fabrics, in the following way:  I will only be allowed to purchase one new piece of fabric after having used FOUR pieces from my stash.
* Certain exclusions apply:
** Fabrics for lining and underlining are not included in the diet
** Travel allowance:  while travelling, I may purchase as much as I like – who knows if I may see these fabrics again?!?
** Sale allowance: see travel caveat above
** The diet may stop at any time the participant feels she has reached or is close to goal (or has just had enough of rations)

I told you it was only a halfhearted attempt at dieting, plus it really doesn’t help that I live with an enabler!!

I also want to thin down my patterns a bit, and am trying to think of the best way to do this.  Perhaps a swap?  Anyone keen for this kind of idea?

Is anyone else on a fabric or pattern diet?

Top 5 for 2013 – Reflections, Goals and Inspiration

More on Gillian’s Top 5 for 2013, but this time I thought I would wrap up these last three in one lazy post! I have updated my progress on last year’s goals and surprisingly I didn’t do too badly overall.

I have been doing some thinking about 2014 and what I need in my wardrobe, what I would like to wear and what makes me happy.

1 – Personal Style

After years of wearing corporate clothing, I am only now (after 18 months) really getting a feel for what I like to wear, what makes me happy and what is my personal style. I used to wear black every day, usually a pant suit with some sort of shirt.  Turns out, I love colour and this year I really want to focus on my own colour palatte.  Preliminary investigations show that I want to dress like a cupcake!


I love dresses, swirly skirts and girly clothes and the shorter my hair gets, the girlier my clothes are getting! I am going to embrace this more and declare 2014 the Year of the Girly Girl!

2 – Wardrobe Requirements

I have a number of different aspects to my life and therefore a number of different wardrobe requirements:

– I work full time in a professional job and need some “nice, respectable” clothes for client visits. But, these are so infrequent I really only need a couple of decent dresses

– I spend a lot of time in an ice rink, I am an International Figure Skating Judge and therefore need super warm clothes for sitting & judging

– I live in a sub-tropical climate, which pretty much means I need the opposite to the previous point!

– I mostly work from home so I can wear what I like

I realise now it is almost impossible for these clothes to be interchangeable between my various activities, so I won’t even try!  I need to assess what I have, what I need, and what I’d like to wear but don’t have.

3 – Patterns

I have a lot of patterns, and upon going through them, I am really not sure I need any more.  I have loads and loads of dress patterns. Rather than accumulating more, I want to focus on the ones I like and that suit my body shape and as I learn more about what suits, get rid of the ones that don’t suit.  No point hanging onto those patterns that look terrible on me – move onwards and upwards. I will look into selling the excess via Etsy shortly

4 – My stash

I also have a lot of fabric, and I realise there is little point collecting it, I need to use it!  Not much good just sitting around in piles, and much easier to admire if I can wear it!  I plan to go through it all in a somewhat ruthless way and cull out the fabric I won’t use. I will then organise the rest – more on this in a later post.  More importantly I am going to use the stash to make beautiful things (I hope!)

5  – Enjoyment

I love the fantastic people I have met through sewing, my own blog and other blogs, Twitter and Instagram, both in real life and online. Everyone is supportive, friendly and sharing – it is a great network to be part of and I plan to stick around and meet even more of you!

To echo Lizzy’s sentiments, I will celebrate me for what I am and find that balance. As always, I plan to make what is fun and enjoyable, after all…

Life is Too Short