Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Altering cardis

Boy I have a lot of cardis!  They come in so handy, especially with sleeveless dresses which I do love to wear to work, in air conditioning! Recently I bought a few plain cardis in op shops because I loved the shape of them - they're not shapeless cardis like most of the ones I already own, but nicely figure hugging cardis with a fitted waist.  But they were boring black and boring oatmeal.  So I had a think about ways to pretty them up.

First up I chose the oatmeal cardi and I was inspired to embroider some bright flowers, after seeing some vaguely similar ones on Bates Motel and Neighbours (stop laughing).  I couldn't find any pictures online, and couldn't get a good look at the ones on the TV shows, so made up my own design using grub roses, lazy daisies and french knots. It's a long time since I did any embroidery, so I just winged it.  :)

Next up was a second hand Portmans black cardi and I went with a simple chain stitch to define the neckline and cuffs.

By the way, I just found these instructions for doing chain stitches backwards, which makes it really easy to keep the stitches the same length.  I wish I read this first!

Next up to embellish will be a white fitted knit top.  I haven't quite decided what I'll do with that..

I've altered lots of clothes I've bought in op shops.  Use your imagination and think about ways to embellish something plain or turn an ill fitting dress with gorgeous fabric into a skirt!

Sunday, October 12, 2014


We only managed a quick visit to Floriade this year.  Tassy's school ukulele band were playing on stage the last day of the school term.  Dave doesn't work Friday and, even though I usually do, I had taken the Friday off to go to Sydney at lunchtime, so we were both able to go and watch in the morning.  It was a lightning quick trip, but I managed to snap some photos of the beautiful bulbs, and to buy a cup of yummy honey puffs (hot doughnuts).  I hate to miss Floriade!

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

What I Wore Wednesday

Last week I had to drive Dave to work mid morning.  It's a 45 minute round trip so I decided to make it worth my while.  First I rewarded the chauffeur by taking myself to San Churro for hot chocolate (REAL hot chocolate - there is no substitute!) and churros with caramel dipping sauce.  Really, that probably would have been enough of a reward in itself, but I decided to take myself to the three op shops near his office.  First up was the fairly new Smith Family op shop which is massively overpriced.  Like ridiculously so.  I would have bought myself a pair of men's Gap oxford shoes if they weren't $38 (I googled and I could buy them brand new for $41!).  I did however buy 2 Judy Blume books (turns out I already had them with different covers - do'h), 10 zippers and this dress.

I really loved the fabric, the neckline and the sleeves, and it's fully lined.  But I really didn't like the high waistline.  It made the dress feel like a big sack and wasn't flattering at all.  After pondering it for the afternoon I realised the gathered waistband wasn't gathered after all - it had pleats!  So I sewed them down, wore a belt lower than the seam and now it's so much better! 

I bought this sweet brooch from a girl I follow on Instagram.  It's made from a vintage puzzle piece.  So adorable!

And these are my new shoes from Modcloth.  Unfortunately they're a bit small.  They're wearable, just not for days involving lots of walking.

They do go perfectly with my jacket tho. :D

Dress - Op shop (it's a unknown Asian brand)
Jacket - Material Pleasures second-hand clothing store (Caroline K Morgan)
Belt - Yes Style
Brooch - Butter and Buntings
Shoes - Modcloth

I got a few other pieces of clothing in Vinnies and Salvos that day so I'll share them here soon!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What I Wore Wednesday

I bought this cherry fabric at Lincraft recently in a 40% off fabric sale.  I LOVE SALES!  I only bought one metre because that's all I'd need to make a skirt.  Afterwards I realised the border print was only along one selvedge, which meant the border wouldn't go all around the hem of the skirt, so I went back to Lincraft to buy another metre... Of course I wasn't the only one with such fantastic taste in fabric, so unfortunately it was all sold out!  As were all the other Lincraft stores in Canberra.  So it sat in a bag for a two or three months because I couldn't decide how I would utilise the border print.  Should I have it only on the front hem?  Or use it in the waistband?  Or run it up a side seam?  In the end I decided to just have it on the front hem.  And I can't see the back when I'm wearing it, so I'm pretty satisfied LOL.


Top - Modcloth
Skirt - Made by me
Shoes - Ernest Wyler

Monday, August 25, 2014

Poppy's 70th birthday

We had a beautiful lunch at the Hyatt for my father-in-law's birthday recently.  Oh my goodness, the food was amazing.  Especially the seafood and desserts!  Then it was back to their place for a special cake for the retired electrician.  It was a lovely afternoon to celebrate his birthday.


Saturday, August 23, 2014


I realised I have a layout I haven't shared on my blog before.  It's Tassy and her most beloved bunny.  He was a Christmas present and she loves him so.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What I Wore Wednesday

I've been neglecting my blog, but Mardi's Blog Hop post has got me going again.  So now I have a few outfit posts coming up soon.  First one coming up!

Last year I bought some gorgeous check fabric at Spotlight, reduced to $3/m.  I bought quite a lot and last year I made this dress. It's tricky to sew with because the fabric doesn't sit straight - it warps all over the place, but it falls beautifully and feels lovely to wear.

I had heaps of fabric left over so I recently made a skirt.  I decided to use up ALL the fabric, which meant it was a really full skirt, but also quite long.  I didn't use a pattern - the waistband and the skirt are both just rectangles.

I'm still not sold on the length - I'll probably shorten it eventually, but I've worn it several times at this length.  The skirt is roughly pleated into the waistband.

I bought this top at the Zonta pre-loved clothing sale recently.  I loved the colour but it was shapeless and un-flattering.  I took the sides in before the following picture was taken, and afterwards I sewed some vintage lace around the collar for a bit more pretty.

 So my very thrifty outfit went a little something like this.

Top - $10 at Zonta pre-loved clothing sale
Skirt - Made by me for about $6
Cardi - hand me down from my sister Alicia
Brooch - gift from my sister Charlotte
Shoes - faves from I Love Billy, which are knocking at deaths door but I refuse to turn off life support just yet

My friend Sam, who has the most awesome taste in clothing, has recently started a blog and done a Bernie Dexter dress post here!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Blog Hopping With a Difference

My dear friend Mardi Winen invited me to join the crafty little Blog Hop that's making the rounds in the blogging world.  Mardi and I have been friends (thanks to the internet!) for a long time now, working on some Design Teams together, exchanging emails and keeping up with each other via blogs and Instagram.  We met in real life a few years ago on a retreat and she was just a warm and beautiful and real as I thought - a beautiful soul.

So this Blog Hop is about crafting.  Actually, the posts I've seen so far have been about scrapbooking but I'm going with a different theme.  Dressmaking. :)

I bought this collection of new and vintage zips at the op shop for $3.

What am I working on right now?
Right now I'm between projects but I have lots of fabric washed and ready to sew into dresses or skirts.  Some are summer fabrics so I'll leave those for a bit later.  I aim to use my heavier fabrics first so I can get some wear out of them this year.

This is an older pic..

How long does it take to create a project?
When I make a skirt or a dress I try to get the whole thing done in a day.  But it doesn't always work out that way.  Sometimes I give myself a head start by cutting the fabric the day before.  And sometimes I don't get to do the finishing touches until another day.  But my aim is to get it done in a day, so I choose a day when I don't have much else planned.  

I cut this dress out the day before I planned on sewing it.  I used vintage sheeting as lining - it's pretty and it's cheap!

What are my fave things I love to create with at the moment?
I'm finding skirts to be pretty quick and easy. When I make skirts I usually don't use a pattern.  I have a purchased skirt in a style I like, so I lay that on my fabric and use it as a guide for cutting out a curved waistband, then I usually try to fit as much fabric into the skirt as I can, so that it's as full as possible.  I always use patterns for dresses, but I often alter the design, or use a combination of two patterns - like the bodice from one with the skirt from another.

How does my creative process work?
When I shop for fabric I don't usually search for something specific, I just buy what appeals to me.  When I see something I like it usually seems pretty obvious to me whether it would work best as a skirt or a dress. I loved this cherry fabric and because it's thin I thought it would work best as a dress.  Because I'm so fair, prints on a white background don't flatter me, so I chose a plain red to use as a trim.  Defining the skirt hem, neckline and armholes in a darker fabric should be more flattering on me. 

How do I become inspired and stay inspired?
Mostly the internet!  I love so much clothing on Modcloth, and I follow some gorgeous stylish girls on Instagram.  Pinterest too!  Fabrics really inspire me.

What is my signature style? 
I'm not sure what you'd name my style, but I like bright colours, retro styles, and fit and flare dresses. These are the dresses I made in 2013 (these are all one pattern design which I altered).
So I'm going to pass the baton to my family bloggers - they should be uploading their blog posts next Monday.

Janice Kingman
The one who taught me how to make stuff, beginning with padded picture frames and fimo jewellery in the eighties.  She's always busy knitting, crocheting and stitching - clothes (including lots of bridesmaids dresses for her girls), cushions, purses and bags, and plenty more.  Twice a year she has a little garden party to sell her wares to her friends.  She's always got a million projects planned and has withdrawals if she hasn't been into the sewing room for a few days.  My mother.

Charlotte Lam
The one who introduced me to scrapbooking - I love to scrapbook with her (but it only happens once every few years).  She's also passionate about Project Life, is the card making queen and makes the sweetest baby toys.  She's so resilient (she lives with a house full of in-laws) and I'm excited seeing how she's decorating her boys' bedroom, since they no longer have all four of their little family in the one bedroom!  My baby sister.