The Murphy skirt

As in, Murphy’s law.


Guess who:

  • Bought fabric from the Fabric Warehouse sale because it was kind of nice, and on sale?
  • Then decided to make a colour-block dress and bought the contrast fabric from Spotlight for five times the price?
  • Decided the contrast fabric wasn’t right and spent the whole morning trying to dye it with food colouring (fail) and then bleaching it (success).
  • Sewed nearly the entire dress – including seam bindings – and hated it. Cut it up.
  • Made a skirt instead (New Look 6106), cut the pockets wrong and had to use the contrast fabric for them.
  • Decided it needed piping, didn’t have cord so used hat elastic (worked fine!).
  • Sewed that damned zipper three times before the back piping matched up.
  • Has worn it only once, for the photos.

Fine but totally not worth the effort. I am planning to have better luck this weekend.


Thanks Mr Postman

This post has a soundtrack

Despite my ferocious guard puppy, the postman managed to bring me a present this week:


That’s 30 spools of thread, 30km worth (!). Coincidentally, that’s almost exactly the distance from my house to the Whittakers chocolate factory.

I was so sick of not having the right colour, and using the near-enough colour, which was never really near enough. So I went a bit nuts. But they make me happy to look at. They remind me of a box of chocolates, in fact.

The sewing machine I used last year was very temperamental about thread. It would accept only the finest and most expensive thread, and even then would skip the odd stitch just to show me who was boss. Now I’m back to my usual sewing machine, my trusty old friend, the never serviced, always reliable, Bernina 1008. It will take whichever thread I throw at it. I bought Birch. It’s fine. Cheap. Multi-coloured.

Image(thanks to estitch for the photo)

I love you, 1008. Your 80s pastels and all.

Christmas in October

If you are related to me, click this link and go look at something else.

If you’re not, I want to show you my Christmas sewing. This is outrageously organised, by my standards.

A couple of years ago I heard of a lovely tradition, involving new pjyamas on Christmas Eve. That way you get to wake up on Christmas morning in nice new clean PJs, all ready for opening presents and gorging yourself on rum balls.  The last two Christmases, I’ve bought myself new PJs, and this year I decided to extend it to the folks I’ll be spending the day with.

So after a quick visit to the most addictive fabric website I know, Hawthorne Threads, and some serious guesstimation about people’s waist circumference, we were in business. I used Simplicity 9958, and cut the men’s medium for all of them (even the ones for my sister).  Based on past experience, I lowered the waistline by an inch for the fellas, as they’re a bit old-fashioned otherwise. I left it as is for my sister’s pair (as I like a bit of butt-coverage, myself).

And here are the results! It was a typically windy-Wellington day, and I had to take a lot of photos before I got one with them all visible.Image


VWs for the guy with a 70s panel van.


Aeroplanes for our adrenaline junkie.


Cute lab animals for our science nerd.


Doggies for our dog lover.



Monkeys and dinosaurs because… well, just because.

And people, flat-felled seams! Where have you been all my life? Easy and strong and good going round curves… I will be using them a lot more from now on.

Cost/benefit analysis

The Fabric Warehouse sale was on this week. I should say, is on, because I fully intend to go again. I spent a measly $21 on 7 metres of great stuff, fabric I wouldn’t normally buy but look forward to playing with. It got me thinking about how much I spend on clothing. With travelling, I haven’t been doing a lot of sewing in the last 12 months. I haven’t done much active stash-accumulating, either, though my fairy godmother in Hong Kong has other plans and keeps sending me lovely boxes. And I haven’t bought many clothes, either. In fact, what have I bought in 2013?….

ImageWell, yeah, shoes. They don’t count, though, do they? Shoes are expensive, and ya gotta keep your feet warm.


Likewise, tops wear out pretty quickly, and when you’re not a knits sewist, they add up…


OK, this was a bit of a splurge. Two dresses while my sewing machine was on the high seas.


Eh, barely anything.


SO restrained. Actually there was another $20 purchase too, come to think of it.

So what’s that altogether? $655. In 9 months, in which I thought I’d barely bought clothes.

Which brings me to my personal 2014 challenge. I’m going to give myself a budget of a dollar a day. $365 for the year. Sounds like heaps. Stash-busting doesn’t count, but everything else does.

Stay tuned, I have something exciting to show you next time. I’ve been busy with Christmas sewing! This level of organisation is unprecedented, I’m always the one being politely asked to leave the shops on Christmas Eve. 84 days to go!