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The 40's Travel Dress - Part Deux

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Way back in May I made Vogue 8728, a 40's reproduction knit dress, and it was pretty safe to say that I luuurved this dress. Comfy, cute and easy to wash and wear. So, I made 2 more (this version and a beautiful green wool knit version, post to come) and bought fabric for a fourth. While I still love this dress, I'm starting to wonder if I should branch out of my 40's knit dresses and possibly try something else? Well, maybe, we'll see... Any suggestions?

I won't go into the construction details because I did all that in my original post and did pretty much the exact same things with this version.

The knit I used is a lovely medium weight 98% cotton with a tiny bit of spandex for stretch and up close, is actually a navy and maroon marle. I still have quite a bit of this fabric left and am hopeful I might be able to squeeze a Lady Skater dress out of it (I'm pretty sure this will probably be my next knit dress after seeing this cute version).

These photos are the last set we took in our favourite photo location in Sydney... sigh.

Anyway, thanks so much for all the comments on my Miette cardigan. I've now nearly finished the bodice and will then be starting on the sleeves. So, I guess it's nearly done (well, not really...) and I can start thinking about my next knitted project!

Which brings me to this Pike Place pattern. As I am obviously not cool enough to live in the States, they won't let me buy it. How come you 'Mericans only get access to cool patterns? I really only want a download of the cardigan and not the actual pattern booklet, but it doesn't seem to be available as a digital download (I mean really?!? In this day and age?). Does any body know where I might be able to source a copy all the way down here on the bottom of the planet?

Oh well, at least while I plot how to get my hands on this pattern, there are plenty of other cardigans to be knit.


PS) As some of you saw on Instagram the other day, I've gone cut all ma hur off. It was time...

Knitting a Miette...

Monday, September 23, 2013

I finally started knitting a real proper thing. An actual thing that I can wear that isn't just a tangled mess of dropped stitches and broken dreams.

Okay, that's a little dramatic. But David has been waiting on his scarf for, ooh, I dunno, 5+ years now?

I've started knitting Andi's Miette Cardigan, and I gotta say, this pattern is awesome! If you are a beginner that is wanting to make a real proper thing that looks complicated but actually isn't really, then the Miette is for you.

I definitely consider myself a beginner knitter and this pattern has already taught me so much, I've gotten over my fear of thinking that knitting patterns just look way too complicated for me.  Even though they do look complicated at first glance, they actually aren't as bad as you may think. Once you drill them down and look at them line by line, they are much easier to manage and do start to make sense.

Before I started knitting my Miette, I found an amazing knit along run by Gail. She has posts filled to the brim with useful information for the beginner knitting their first Miette and I found her pattern chart so useful (even though I didn't actually find it until I was well on my way).

I will do a proper post on my Miette when it's finished, but in the mean time, are you on Ravelry? Well, me too! Let's be friends.

Are any of you beginner knitters going to try out the Miette? Or have you already?


PS) Thanks so much for your lovely comments on my new Introducing... feature starting with Melissa from Scavenger Hunt. I've had lots of emails from people already wanting to take part which is amazing!

Remember, if you would like to take part, don't be shy, email me at

Introducing... Melissa from Scavenger Hunt

Friday, September 20, 2013
I've had this idea bubbling away for a little while now and finally have a bit of time to make it a reality. There are so so so many creative bloggy type people popping up on the ol' internets all the time. So many to keep up with and so I've found that I tend to stick with the select few that I've been reading for years.

I have to be honest though, I think I'm sorely missing out on some awesome bloggy goodness because I'm too lazy/time poor to go out and look for more blogs to read. So with that in mind, I'm introducing a new series to my blog interviewing the amazingly talented people behind some of the lesser known (but no less awesome and inspiring) blogs out there to hopefully introduce some new people into your reading repertoire (and I get to make new bloggy friends in the process!).

So, without further ado, I'd like to introduce you to Melissa from Scavenger Hunt.

Melissa and I really hit it off after we found out we have more than a few things in common besides sewing. She lived in Tonga for a while and has visited many parts of New Zealand (including where I was born) and I lived in California for a year. We both have two cats, love vintage and are trying to figure out the whole knitting thing (I'll have a whole other post on that later...). Melissa is an amazing seamstress and produces beautiful, vintage inspired silhouettes, but don't just take my word for it...

Tell us a bit about yourself and your blog
My name is Melissa and I blog over at Scavenger Hunt. I share my sewing and crafting projects, vintage finds and any other little adventures I have. I discovered the blogging world about 2 years ago and after about a year of avid reading, I finally got up the courage to start my own. I've loved every minute of it - it's been really fun and inspiring to connect with other people who love the same things I do!

I live on the central coast of California with my boyfriend Phillip and our two cats Ruby and Bosley. I work full-time at a day program for adults with disabilities and in my spare time I love to make things and hunt for vintage finds at thrift shops and estate sales. My boyfriend and I have a booth at a local antique mall and I sell vintage patterns and sewing supplies in my Etsy shop. I'm dreaming of starting another shop to sell my handmade creations, but there are only so many hours in the day! I'm hoping to get it up and running by next year.

Why did you start sewing?

My Mom taught me a bit of sewing while I was growing up - she does a lot of quilting. But I really got into it after high school when I took a class at the local community college. I think my main motivation for learning was (and still is) my interest in vintage fashion and my desire to create clothes that reflect my personal style. I've taken a few classes off and on throughout the years, though mostly I've learned through a lot of trial-and-error. Like I said, I discovered the blogging community a couple of years ago and it's opened up a whole new world of knowledge and inspiration.

Do you get up to any other crafty adventures?

Yes! I'm pretty sure there's no craft I wouldn't try! Over the years I've tried everything from leather working to pottery, to painting. Lately I've been dabbling in jewellery making, re-covering thrift store furniture and I'm trying to learn how to knit and crochet! One of my goals over the next couple of years is to learn how to use software to create my own patterns and fabric designs.

What has been your greatest sewing achievement so far?

I think that would be competing in the Super Online Sewing Match on Sew Mama Sew. I was honoured to be chosen and I actually made it all the way to the final challenge! Though I didn't win the grand prize, I was really proud of myself for getting that far and holding my own with so many amazingly talented sewers. It's really inspired me to push myself to do my best and to take my sewing and blogging to a new level!

And have there been any crafty-related disappointments?
Oh my gosh, too many to count! Especially when I first started sewing. I've ripped holes with my seam ripper, cut things out wrong, made garments that were hopelessly small, large, ill-fitting etc. I tend to mess things up less often now, but I still have disappointments every now and again. But I think you just have to keep trying and take each one as a learning experience. Sometimes I'll just set a particularly frustrating project aside and after taking a break for a while, I'll come back to it with new energy and a willingness to figure it out.

Invisible zip, lapped zip or centre zip?
I tend to think invisible looks the nicest.

What is currently on your sewing table?
I'm just starting to work on my dress for the Fall for Cotton sew-a-long. I'm going to try to do some fun things with stripes!

What do you want to be when you grow up?
I'm still trying to figure that out! I majored in Anthropology in college, was a teacher in the Peace Corps, and now I work with adults with disabilities. But now I think that I would really love to find a way to make a living doing something creative.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone thinking about learning to sew?
My advice would be to just go for it! Realise that your first work isn't going to be perfect, but you'll gradually get better and better. The internet is a great resource - it seems like there's advice and tutorials for everything so you can get an idea of what to do beforehand. One thing I wish I had done more when I first began to sewing is to slow down. I would get really impatient to be finished so I would often try to go too fast and cut corners. Now I'm realising that when I really take my time, my projects turn out so much better!

Thanks so much for taking part Melissa! Make sure you head on over to her blog to take a peek at a few more of her amazing creations!

Are you a *sewing/knitting/crocheting/baking/vintage/
cat-loving/creative/crafty/awesome owner of a blog? 

Do you want to be featured in an interview and introduced to some of your other bloggy pals? Well then, flick me an email to with a link to your blog and any other tidbits you feel like sharing and we'll arrange an imaginary internet tea and cake date and get to know each other a little better!

Looking forward to hearing from you :)


* You can be any or all of these things :)
Due to the volume of requests, it may take me a little while to get back to you :)

Lightning Stripes Belladone

Saturday, September 14, 2013


I managed to make a few things to show off before my sewing machine hopped aboard a ship and this Belladone is one of them. I made this almost straight after I had finished my Airelle Blouse because I was on a Deer&Doe kick, and because you know, new patterns are exciting! Especially when they are of the birthday present variety.

I used some amazing blue and black diagonal striped cotton, that actually has some one-way stretch in it that I hadn't realised until I went to wash it. I was kind of annoyed, but got my Tim Gunn on and made it work!! Also, I really like the diagonal stripe. I think it's quite unusual for fabrics these days who seem to prefer a vertical or horizontal stripe. Those fabrics are so missing out!




I made the dress almost straight out of the packet, except for a few minor things. I narrowed the shoulders, made the join at the top of the back bigger (I was worried about it possibly stretching out a little due to the stretch in the fabric), made the skirt longer and omitted the skirt hem facing, instead doing a simple rolled hem. I've never actually come across a skirt hem facing before, have you? Due to my time restrictions I opted to leave it off, but I think I'll give it a go with my next Belladone (as there will be a next!).

So, why is it called the Lightning Stripes Belladone?

Well, I thought it would be fun to cut the waistband with the stripe going the other way, making a small lightning strike across the dress (well, I think it looks like a lightning strike...). Also, to break up all that diagonal stripey goodness, I think it needed it, otherwise there would be the possibility of too much stripe (can there be too much stripe?).  And no, I didn't bother lining up the stripes in the waistband, but having looked at these photos, I could have probably tried to line up the main black stripe.

Oh well, you win some, you lose some.





And, there are pockets. A love affair that the modern day seamstress cannot get enough of. Put a pocket on something and it's guaranteed love. Who cares about a ring!

Just put a pocket on it!

So, it's only natural that I love the little diagonal pockets on the skirt, but I some how managed to make mine almost completely invisible by matching up the stripes in the fabric on both sides, very much unintentionally. They are now my magical disappearing pockets. 



Overall, another winner from Deer&Doe. I think this will get a lot of wear this summer, if it ever decides to warm up :)


Hey You There, Crafty Cat Lover...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013
David sent me this link a few days ago. It's pretty amazing. The number of cat-fur finger puppets and pin cushion gifts I could have made over the years boggles my mind...

You can currently look inside Crafting with Cat Hair: Cute Handicrafts to Make with Your Cat* on Amazon here.

Also, I kind of want this book... just sayin.


*These crafts are not recommended for people with cat allergies. (Hehe!! No, but seriously... :p).

Signs of Spring...

Monday, September 9, 2013

We have been home for about a week now and spring appears to be springing here in New Zealand (though the temperature would say otherwise...). Daffodils are poking their brightly coloured heads through the dead winter foliage. The the rock garden is coming back to life. Reflections in the window. Cherry trees heavy with blossoms. Kitties safely tucked inside after their long flight.

Mocha has almost completely settled in but Monty is taking much longer. This is the first time he has been anywhere other than our place in Sydney since he was a kitten (other than trips to the vet, including the especially long trip to the vet when he got really sick with a bladder infection and had to stay 2 nights). He hasn't been eating much, but is slowly nibbling on a few cat biscuits after I hand feed them to him one at a time. He better not get used to this...but I hope he starts to perk up soon.


One Pattern Seven Bloggers - The Big Reveal

Monday, September 2, 2013
We've come to the end of the second One Pattern Seven Bloggers challenge and it's now time to reveal our finished Macarons.




First off, can we talk about the pockets? In-pleat pockets are officially my favourite kind of pocket! My mind is blown as to why I have never used them before, as it is, I'm quite sure I see a few Macaron skirts in my future. As some of the other challenge participants noted, the skirt is much more of a tulip shape than the pattern pictures make out and to be honest, that's why I love it. The soft pleats are very flattering across your tummy when you've had a big lunch and they hide the deep pockets so well, you could keep all number of curiosities in them and no one would know.




For this version, I moved the side zip to the centre back - something I tend to do for almost everything if I can get away with it. I'm one of these people who does their hair before they get dressed and prefer to step into a dress as opposed to pull it on over my head. I also inserted it using my preferred zip insertion method, the lapped zipper.

I underlined the yolk/sleeve fabric with a plain white cotton to stop it being as see through and replaced the neck facing with white bias binding that I hand stitched to the underlining.





I also chose to omit the bodice waist band as I tend to wear belts with almost everything. Though before I had even thought of doing that, I had to quite drastically lengthen the main bodice piece (even if I was going to keep the waist band!). I'm now officially confused as to whether I'm long waisted, short waisted or just average waisted as with almost every pattern I've made, I have to make one of the above mentioned alterations to my waist length. Any one care to fill me in on how I decide whether I'm short, long or average in the waist-length department?




Overall, I found this pattern lovely to work with. The combination of fabrics you could choose for the dress are endless as well as the number of different changes you could make (Kat made a peplum top from hers!!). The instructions are easy to follow and the dress doesn't use a lot of fabric. In fact, I loved making this pattern so much that I hopped straight back to it and made a second Macaron for the Sew Weekly Reunion Challenge right after I was done with this first version.

But, let's not forget that amazing giveaway we promised when we first announced the Challenge. The prizes have been drawn but firstly, a huge Thank You to our fabulous sponsors who donated the amazing prizes to us.

And the winners are...

Lill - 1 x Macaron Pattern thanks to Colette Patterns
Josephine - 1 x Macaron Pattern thanks to Guthrie & Ghani
MaciNic - 1 x Macaron Pattern thanks to Stitch 56
Elizabeth - 1 x Pattern of your choice thanks to Sew Squirrel
Kathleen S - 1 x Colette Pattern of your choice thanks to Indie Stitches
Joanne - 1 x Colette Pattern of your choice thanks to The Haby Goddess
Amy - 1 x $20 gift voucher thanks to Fabric Worm
Sew Charleston - 1 x $30 gift voucher thanks to A Fashionable Stitch

All winners will be receiving an email from one of us shortly!!

Make sure you head on over to visit everyone else involved in the challenge, they've made some amazing creations. While I've gone the more casual route, there are some stunning evening versions in there which really does show how versatile this pattern can be -

Marie from A Stitching Odyssey
Reana Louise from Reana Louise
Rachel from My Messings
Sam from Buckingham Road



As I was editing these photos, it occurred to me that this looks a little like a modern version of Dorothy's dress from The Wizard of Oz and that I really should have worn red shoes for this photo shoot. Oh well, now I know what I'm going as to my next costume party, I just need to borrow a Toto from someone (can a black cat play Toto? We picked them up today, hooray!!)...


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