The mindfulness dress: BurdaStyle 07/2011 #131

No I haven’t found that pattern yet.

But lets talk about something different.

Why should the mindfulness colouring in trend be limited to paper?

Fabric can be coloured in too!

I had a lot of fun with this dress.

And who says it over? Boring meeting? I can whip out my textas and zen out some more. There’s plenty more to do..

This dress started as a toile. The fabric has been in my stash for some time.

I wasn’t too concerned about the selvedge showing on the centre back seam, because this was a toile.

Does it really matter if part of the text printed on the selvedge “Designed by Sissi Edholm & Lisa Ullenius 2005 IKEA of Sweden AB” shows on the slit?? (It was deep stash. 2005 makes it almost vintage!)

Then I tried it on, and really liked the dress as well as really liking the pattern (the pattern was subsequently used for the teal party frock).

This would be a great hot weather dress I thought. Specially in linen, which is exactly what this fabric is. Pity about the selvedge.

So I lined and finished it. And then did a bit of colouring in.

Technical details

Pattern: BurdaStyle 07/2011 #131

Size: 36-44. I made a 44.

Fabric: Linen outer from IKEA (deep stash) and a lining from cotton batiste with a light sparkly coating from Ferrier Fashion Fabrics– it feels lovely against my skin.

The black and white linen got some extra colour round the waist thanks to textas.

These were not special fabric pens. I did a trial run with a scrap and washed it. None of the colours I wanted to use ran, except purple, and maybe red just a teensy nit. The red did bleed a bit after the first wash too.

Bleach might turn out to be my new best friend.

Changes I made:

I moved the zip and the walking slit to the back and fully lined the dress rather than just faced the neck line.

The sleeves stick out. They also stick out on other sewists who made this dress with sleeves, like Doctor T and njnow02.

I double and triple checked that the pieces went together in the right way. So either they are marked incorrectly, or the model in the fashion shoot has amazingly broad shoulders.

This is a great pattern. I need to make another version! I do have the traced off pattern filed away where it should. Now, back to looking for the other one…

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Best sewing day ever

I had the best sewing day ever with my dear friend M of Nonsuch

Two sewing machines and the overlocker. Sewing themed T shirt. Champagne. Delicious leftovers from the previous efforts of He who Cooks… Bliss!

We were selfless sewers too. M made a great shirt for Ken, and I finally got around to making the Rachel Comey skirt with cool pockets for Felicity. You know, the one that everyone else has made, multiple times over. Vogue 1247, now OOP

I lengthened the skirt 18 cm. The fabric is a cotton canvas from IKEA and it’s very very firm. I probably should have gone a size up in this fabric to a 14 for comforts sake.

While the pattern was out I cut out and made another top for myself too. My selfless sewer halo slipped a bit..


What about that formal dress, I hear you say.

I have made some progress:

I’ve located a neoprene/scuba fabric source (Spotlight, thanks Jann) and I have two patterns to use as a guide for the bodice:

I thought I’d use a princess line dress pattern I have already modified to fit Felicity well as my starting point and modify the upper bust and neckline to be more like the two above, as I’ve scrawled in red below.

Do you think I could find the pattern?? Every other traced-off pattern I’ve ever sewn, and some I haven’t, are neatly filed and exactly where I expect them to be. Except this one. Grr.

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Help! Another formal dress is needed!

Felicity has a Year 12 formal in early April. I know, its early. And she already had a formal last year. Sigh

We went formal dress ‘shopping’ with her friend M and M’s mum C. It was more trying on than real shopping, but the businesses totally got it. I’m sure they’ve seen lots and lots of teenagers browsing and trying on multiple times before actually settling on anything.

It was a lot of fun.

Many different styles needed to be checked out, even ones that really didn’t, like this magnificent fairy dress. Its quite a contrast to M’s elegant and totally gorgeous mint gown.

How about one with a detachable bid?

Seven layers in the skirt might be more her style? Let give that a try too.

Hmm. Perhaps a bit to princess-y.

Now the red one is more like it!

It was a size too small, and made from neoprene.. otherwise it might be already hanging in her wardrobe, and my formal dress sewing would be over before it had even started.

So, what do you think? Should I try making a custom version similar to this that fitted her better? Anyone know of any patterns that I could use as a springboard for the bodice? And good sources of plain neoprene or scuba knit?

Posted in Sewing | Tagged | 16 Comments

The skirt edition of sewing at the beach

I made some skirts at the beach too. Simple stretch cotton summer staples. Fabric from the stash, but originally from Gay Naffine’s sales in July 2014 and November 2010.

Red ticking skirt

This is an adaptation of my asymmetrical wrap skirt Burdastyle 12/2013 #109

I took the left front side pattern piece (the one with the straight hem) and cut it out on the fold on the centre front line. I added a centre back seam to the back, plus a zip and walking slit. And used a facing instead of the waistband. In other words, it bears little resemblance to the original pattern!

A teensy bit of topstitching and, viola! a casual summer straight skirt.

The blouse is a me-made from October 2013: BurdaStyle 07-2011-121. It’s one of those blouses I reach for over and over again, and still looks great. I put that down to fabulous fabric. It really is worth sewing with the good stuff.

Lemon yellow skirt:

You saw this skirt in the last blog post. It’s BurdaStyle 01/2011 #137. It doesn’t seem to be available as a pdf download, but if you have this issue, have a look at this pattern. It’s a winner!

I first made it for Jungle January 2014, and have been meaning to repeat for a long time. This one is just the same as the Crazy Zebra version, except without lining.

It’s a nice pegged retro-ish over the knee length style, with a reasonably long walking vent that makes it easy to wear.

I’ve paired it here with another simple  knit top, BurdaStyle 04/2014 #109

I did a lazy persons petite adjustment (raised the neckline 2 cm) but otherwise changed nothing. Two pattern pieces? What was there to really change!?

This pattern is a bit of a sleeper. Burda made it up in a chunky knit, and instructed picking up stitches at the hem with a knitting needle and casting off using yarn you’d unravelled from the remnants of fabric. Sort of pretend knitting.

The pattern easily adapts to a regular knit. Instead of bias binding for the neckline, I cut out a skinny facing and, after stitching it to the bodice and flipping to the inside, stitched it down with a twin needle. I shamelessly copied this idea from Mary Athey.

This was cut out as a 42 grading to a 44 at the hips. It’s very roomy.

I know there are draglines from the bust but I’m not worrying about that (or ablogogising).

It’s a two piece pattern. I got to use up a knit remnant from fabric I loved and Felicity ‘stole’. So much to love. Draglines can be sorted with the next version. This one is going to be worn.

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Sewing at the beach: BurdaStyle 07/2014 #108

Happy New Year!

I hope you’ve had a great start to 2016.

I had a lovely time at the beach: swimming, reading, catching up with friends, fishing and … sewing.

He Who Cooks graciously made room in the car for my sewing machine ..

..and.. the overlocker.

He’s a keeper!

Can you think of a better view whilst sewing? We were just south of Tumby Bay in South Australia at Thuruna Campsite, with a lovely group of extended family and friends, right on the beach front.

Given the location, I really should have been sewing bikinis, or cover-ups. But inspiration had previously struck elsewhere, and a top was already cut out of this fabulous ‘shoe’ panel print fabric

Technical details

Pattern: Burdastyle 07/2014 #108

Size: 36-44, I made a 42.

Fabric: The outer fabric is cotton voile, one of my Mood NYC souvenirs. I lined it with a silky polyester woven from one of Gay Naffine’s designer fabric sales. So sad that there will be no more of these.

Changes I made

This is a cropped top. I lengthened it considerably and lined it. Both lining and fashion fabric were sewn separately at the shoulders and side seams, but sewn together at the neckline before a facing from the fashion fabric was added.

The lining and the upper fabric were separately hemmed, the lining a bit shorter. At the sleeve hem the lining and fabric were sewn together (sort of like bagging a jacket) and since the lining had a smaller seam allowance, the fashion fabric wraps inside a little.

It looks okay tucked in, but then the not-so-neat high heeled shoes part of the panel is hidden.

The big question that still remains is.. what shoes do you wear with a top covered in shoes of every colour?

Posted in Sewing | Tagged , , , , | 19 Comments

Secret Santa at work

I think my work colleagues know me very well!

Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate, seasons greeting to everyone and best wishes for the New Year.

Posted in Sewing | Tagged | 5 Comments

Asymmetric wrap skirt; BurdaStyle 12/2013 #109

Once upon a time, Sewingelle fell in love with a handsome skirt pattern

And then this came along from her favourite RTW store, Veronika Maine

How could she choose between these two loves?

As the initial infatuation wore off, she started to see faults. Why didn’t the RTW version come in navy? The wrap part looked a bit tacked on, like a straight skirt with an extra bit.

Luckily she remembered she was a seamstress and that she could combine all the things she loved into one garment.

This dream skirt stayed in her virtual wardrobe together with all the other garments she’d already sewn up in her mind. It’s a large space.

Finally her wish was granted.


Why did it take so long from inspiration to realization?

She isn’t a very fast seamstress.

A trial version of the pattern was made last summer. It never made it to the blog because Sewingelle always meant to go back and take better photos. Ones that she looked less like a zombie in.

She loved this skirt and wore it a lot. Too much. It got quite shabby. It was time to make the real version!

Technical Details

Pattern: BurdaStyle 12/2013 #109

Size: 34-44, I made a 42 (waist) + 44 (hips) with a 1.5 cm sway back adjustment.

Changes I made:

The trial version was just like Burda instructed, except I didn’t use petersham for the waist. Instead I cut a waistband from my fashion fabric as a simple rectangle, with a finished height of 3 cm.

I also didn’t trim the zip edges with petersham, but left them as they were. I didn’t have a separating zip the right size, and it wasn’t two way. What I did have was one of those chunky plastic separating zips that was a bit too long. So I cut it to size, zigzagged the edges (horror, yes I really was that slapdash) and added a cute silver zip pull.

The two toned version was similar, except I drafted a separate yoke piece. Yes I reused the snowman!

I decided on the back yoke depth by how long the darts were. I closed up the darts and smoothed out the curve.

There’s a little bit bubbling were the end of the darts should have been but this seems to have worked well.

The front yoke pieces were then drafted to the same depth as the back for the left side, and angled down parallel to the hem for the right side. I closed up the darts for these pieces too.

My fabric is reversible. It’s the last remnants from a piece that has yielded a jacket and skirt using this side and a peplum top from the reverse.

I cut the facing in the reverse, because I could. Satin bias tape was used on the hem.

Those of you paying attention will know that the last time you saw this yellow top, Felicity was wearing it. She rejected it. Now its mine, all mine!

Narrator: Sewingelle and her skirt lived happily ever after.



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All the teal things: Paco Peralta Draped Top

My party frock in the last post is my favourite colour. I even love how this thread of this colour looks in my overlocker.

So lets keep making all the teal things.

A piece of fine teal woven fabric in my stash turned into another Paco Peralta top.

Just like that!

Technical details

Pattern: Paco Peralta’s Draped Top

I have his original version, but it’s now available as sleeveless and with long sleeves

Size: S-XL (bust 80 to 104 cm). Last time I traced off between an L and an XL, but it was a bit too big. This time I traced off an L .

Changes I made: Instead of cutting the back with a centre back seam, I placed the pattern piece on the fold. Paco drafted the centre back with some shaping, which I lost by being lazy…. I also added 5 cm to the length .

Fabric: This one is a mystery. I think it’s a fine wool. It smells like wool when I press it. I had it marked as being a gift from B via her daughter M, but both of them deny any knowledge of it. Whatever, its lovely to wear.

Love this colour. Love this pattern!

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Party frock: BurdaStyle 07/2011 #131

This last month has been a whirl of work-related dinners and award nights. All three of them. I know. In between making tops for Felicity, I live such an exciting life!

For the most recent event, coincidentally organized by He Who Cooks, I ventured deep into my stash and selected this teal blue fabric. It already looked like a party in my stash with its border of flippy attached leaves,

Combined with this pattern, also deep in the archives,

I had a frock to hand out awards in.

It was a lot of fun to wear, and a great night.

Technical details

Pattern: BurdaStyle 07/2011 #131

Size: 36-44. I made a 44.

Changes I made: I fiddled with this pattern a little.

Firstly I raised the neckline by 1.5 cm. As drafted it wasn’t scandalous, but all my bras, even the low cut balconette styles, showed in the corners. The neckline proportions are still good.

I omitted the sleeve bands and moved the zip and slit to the back after adding a centre back seam. I think the crinkling below is due to me moving around; not drag lines.

I changed it from a princess style to a darted style. This was because I wanted to limit how many seams I had to sew through the attached leafy section: three had to be better than six!

So, how did I do this?

I lined the two front pieces up so that the cutting lines abutted at the lower edge. And did the same for the back pieces. I cut out single layer and right side up, so I could avoid cutting leaves in the wrong place.

I was going to use a tracing wheel to mark the ‘darts’ but I couldn’t find my tracing paper (I had recently ‘tidied up’. Bad move)

So instead I cut the ‘darts’ out with a 5 mm seam allowance.

This actually worked out brilliantly. The dress lost its long paneled style lines, but it was going to anyway with all that fluff at the hem.

Fabric: A crinkled polyester, probably with some nylon content, purchased  from Marché St Pierre in 2013. I love having souvenirs in my stash! The leaves are cut out from the same fabric on a straight ‘stem’, and then seven ‘stems’ stitched onto the fabric along one of the selvages to form a border.

The event was held at Carrick Hill in Adelaide, starting with pre-dinner drinks and canapes on the lawn.

After drinks we went through a garden doorway to our marquee overlooking another of the gardens.

And enjoyed a delicious meal (interspersed with speeches and award presentations…)

Of course, being an event for the wine industry, there was a wine options game. What variety of grapes were they made from? (red wasn’t the right answer…) What sort of oak was used? What year? It was serious stuff.

Despite the deep focus in this part of the event, it wasn’t all seriousness all night long.

It was a great night.

Thanks to ASVO for use of the professional photos taken at the event  by Allan Griffin, Xmark Photography, and Felicity for the front garden shots.

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Top fail times three (or fourth time lucky)

This was the inspiration.

And this is what was eventually made.

Why did it take four attempts??

Well the skirt was the easy bit. I just had to find the fabric. Thanks, Mood Fabrics (and a work commitment that took me to the US!).

The top was the tricky bit.

First try was the top (03/2013 #116) as featured by Burda.

Nice and boxy isn’t it? Felicity needs a FBA for fit, so I added a side dart to my draft and made up a trial version in a drapey polyester.

So, it was “okay”, but the neck was too high, says Felicity. A dart in a lace fabric? says me. Why not try an FBA that doesn’t add a dart? Like that great tutorial by Paprika Patterns.

The next draft had an FBA without the dart, and with the neck lowered a bit. Sensibly, I made this is a silk mousseline which mimicked the stiffness of my real fabric a little better.

This got the thumbs down too. Partly because of the colour ( I though it was a masterly match with the yellow in the floral skirt but apparently it was too much like a set of sheets from her childhood that were not loved.. Kids!).

French seams and all!

And the most beautifully finished bias on the neckline!

Oh well, it was fun making it (and I can wear it , so.. score 1 for Mum!)

But as well as being an un-favourite shade of yellow, the sleeves were annoyingly tight (Fadanista said that too) and the dropped shoulders were not loved.

Time to look for another pattern.

What about a crop top, I suggested. BurdaStyle 02/2015 #127 should do the job? The teenager heartily agreed!

I added a small 1 cm FBA, since the amount of ease was generous. I rotated the FBA back into the diagonal dart so that the style line was preserved.

The test version in blue flowered cotton was approved.

I made it with a back seam (and a keyhole opening with a button at the top) rather than open, as drafted.

I was onto something here! My last remaining change was to lower the front hem a little and then I cut the “lace” out.

This is an embroidered organza. I purchased it from Gay Naffine’s final designer fabric clearance, but, coincidentally, Tessuti has posted something that looks identical this weekend (thanks Jann, for letting me know! I’ve been avoiding the Tessuti website for obvious reasons—seen my stash lately?!)

Organza meant French seams. On sleeves with pointed almost square inserts. I caved and sewed normal seams and then trimmed one of the allowances, folded the other under and stitched. Sort of like lapped seams.

The final effect wasn’t too bad ( this is looking down on one of the cap sleeves before the side seam was sewn).

I trimmed and turned under the darts too.

The neck and keyhole opening at the back was finished with bias plain organza. Which is apparently terribly itchy. Ahh, one must suffer for fashion I say!

Lets have another look at the finished item.

The shape is good

The stiffness can make it a bit cape-like.

The lower back hem is nice.

And the shoes are a great addition to a lovely outfit.

And, on a more serious note, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Paris, and people everywhere living in the shadow of terrorism.

Thanks for reading.

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Moroccan-style chicken with pomegranate and fennel couscous, plus bonus home decorating. And a tutorial on box corners.

Now if that title doesn’t put you off, you’re a star!

The weekend before last was a milestone one for me. I cooked Sunday lunch (He who Cooks does all the cooking normally). And I made outdoor cushion covers. The flowering wisteria made me do it.

The inspiration behind the cooking was David Herbert from The Australian. I love his recipes!

Moroccan-style chicken

adapted from David Herbert

  • 8 chicken thigh fillets
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon pork dripping ( or olive oil, but I used pork dripping, because we’d had a pork roast the night before)
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground fresh ginger
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons sambal oelek paste ( or other chilli paste, such as the harissa paste David suggests)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 red capsicums, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup shredded spinach
  • I fresh chilli, sliced for garnish
  1. Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt, pepper and ground cumin.
  2. Heat the fat in a large non-stick frying pan and add onion, garlic and ginger.
  3. Cook for 4 minutes; remove onion et al and add chicken pieces.
  4. Cook chicken for about 3 minutes each side.
  5. Add tomatoes, chilli paste, honey and ¾ cup water or stock.
  6. Stir in capsicum and spinach. Simmer gently for about 25 minutes, or until chicken is tender and sauce has thickened slightly.
  7. Sprinkle with sliced fresh chilli, and parsley. Serves 6-8

Warm couscous, fennel & pomegranate salad

adapted from David Herbert

  • 200g instant couscous
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons pork fat (see above, substitute olive oil for health and authenticity reasons!)
  • 75g pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • Seeds from a pomegranate
  • Prepare couscous according to packet instructions.
  • Cut fennel lengthwise into 3-4mm thick slices.
  • Heat fat in a large frying pan over medium heat and cook pine nuts, stirring, until golden.
  • Add garlic, fennel and zucchini; cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes or until vegetables are just tender.
  • Stir mixture through couscous.
  • Add herbs and pomegranate seeds, tossing well.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Serves 6-8

Home dec sewing

The inspiration behind this was the gorgeous spring weather, flowering wisteria and an outdoor eating area with attractive but uncomfortable chairs that needed seat cushions.

I had already bought upholstery fabric, and calico covered cushions from IKEA. That was last summer. Now it was spring. Time to sweep up the purple snow and do something about those chairs!

I cut the covers out in one piece that wraps all the way ’round the cushion insert.

There is a seam at the top curved side, with a zip, and down both sides. There is no seam at the square bottom edge, where the back of your knees are when you are sitting down. So I had to make box corners.

I don’t think I’ve ever made box corners before. Clearly I have never made a proper tote bag.

And, so I don’t forget for next time, I took some construction photos. Also I like the way the fabric looks from the inside, and close up.

Okay, here’s the tutorial.

  1. After you’ve added the invisible zip to the top edge, sew all the way down the side seam to the folded edge

2. Turn the fabric so the seam runs through the center of a triangle

3. Press the seam flat, taking care not to press the diagonal folds

4. Sew across the seam. My cushion side edge was 3 cm, so I sewed a line about 2.7 cm long from diagonal edge to diagonal edge (I know, clear as mud. Go and search YouTube for a real tutorial!)

This is what it looked like after stitching

5. Trim the seam

6. Turn it out to the right side, and viola! a box corner! Repeat for the other side.

7. Add cushion, zip it up and repeat until you have 6 covers.

8. Enjoy the outdoor dining and vow to do no more home dec sewing. Ever. Or at least until 6 months time..

Posted in Cooking, Sewing | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Pattern placement is not easy! Burdastyle 10/2014 #105

This fabulous printed stretch fabric seduced me in New York City. I knew it would make a great knit dress.

And how much fun is that print?!

It has girders, cityscapes, buildings, bright flowers, sunset-water reflections, and flowering cherries.

But what bits should I put where?

I’d purchased 3 m, but with a close to 70 cm pattern repeat, I didn’t really have a lot of choice. The dark blue girder section had to go under my bust.

The question was more about whether the cherry trees should be on the side, or through the middle. If they went through the middle, the whole dress would be darker and the red and yellow flowers would be sort of lost and obscured by a darker building, but the trees would have featured. And I really like the trees.

But the trees didn’t win. Having the yellow and red flowers and then the lovely soft pink near my face swayed me…

You can still see the trees from the side

Technical details

Pattern: Burdastyle 10/2014 #105

Size: 34-42, I made a 44. I traced off the 42 and then did a cheats draft out to a 44 by cutting the front out on the fold with the pattern piece 1 cm away from the fold and the same for the back, but angling from nothing at the neck down to 1 cm at the hem.

I should have drafted a centre back seam and made a sway back adjustment. But I couldn’t bear to cut up the print.

There is some pooling at the waist as a consequence.

Fabric: I don’t know for sure but it’s probably polyester spandex from the feel of it. Sort of like light weight spanx, but without a huge amount of stretch- about 30%. It could almost be swimwear. Then it would be a nylon lycra mix. It came from Spandex House in New York City.

Changes I made

All pretty minor – I shortened the overall dress length by 5 cm and changed the sleeves to ¾ length. The sleeves are drafted overly long so they can be scrunched up. I’m not a fan of this look and it irritates me when I wear sleeves that have to be pushed up.

This pattern was also available as a colour blocked top. Isn’t it cute? And a great use of knit scraps.

The top part of the sleeve for this top was almost perfect for what I wanted. I cut my dress sleeves out on this line, without a hem allowance, and then turned up a 3 cm hem.

This is a good pattern.

The waterfall neckline really is lovely and the yoke formed by wrapping the back piece over to the front adds a nice bit of framing, plus additional stability to the shoulder.

And aren’t those Manchurian Pear blossoms magnificent?

Three weeks ago just a few buds were swelling on a bare tree, and the promise of spring was in the air.

Now we have a tree smothered in flowers and buzzing with bees:

I love spring.

Posted in Sewing | Tagged , , , | 22 Comments

BurdaStyle 10/2012 #128 midi length fail.

Gorgeous isn’t it?

Let’s see how it translates.

Not so gorgeous.

To be fair, both the skirt and sleeve hems are unfinished, but it was dowdesville, costume-y, and there was no way I was going to wear it.

Shorter looked like it might be better.

35 cm later

35 times more wearable!

Technical details

Pattern: Burdastyle 10/2012 #128

Size: 36-44. It probably ended up more like a 40 or 42 through the bodice. I traced off a 44 and ‘petite-d’ the bodice (removed 2 cm in length front and back above the bust).

After trying it on I took in the sides seams above the raised waist at least 1 cm each and the centre back seam by up to 2 cm each side at the top of the zip. My side seam alterations raised the armscye by 2 cm.

It is still a bit loose through the back.

I scooped out about 2 cm from the bodice to skirt seam between the bust tucks, back to nothing at the tucks themselves. It’s still a bit poofy. I don’t fill out the bust area enough.

Fabric: A mystery jacquard from Winmill Fabrics in Boston. It takes a press beautifully but doesn’t crease too badly. Perhaps there some rayon in it? I should do a burn test!

Whatever the composition, its light drapey-ness, makes for a fun swirly cocktail frock!

Posted in Sewing | Tagged , , , , | 38 Comments

Other NYC attractions. And Boston too

I know. What else would be as good as the Garment District?

But there are some other places that are mildly interesting. Such as:

Times Square

Fabulous for people watching.

And for reduced tickets to Broadway shows

We had a wonderful evening! Le Mis is such a great story and this production of it was excellent

Yes, the Paco Peralta cowl top also went to New York. And to Boston. Here it is under a RTW jacket, on my way to the conference in Boston.

This is a great pattern and, in this cotton voile, the top is ideal for summer travelling. Cool to wear, quick and easy to wash and dry in a hotel room and looks good under a jacket if you need to look a bit more pulled together.

New York Public Library

Freedom Tower and the 9/11 memorial

The Statue of Liberty

and other views from the water

The Highline

A disused elevated rail line converted into a lovely walkway, with a cottage garden feel to it and a sense of community.

What a great idea. We saw street art from a different vantage point, street style photographers (why are they always so stylish and photo- worthy themselves?) and a spot for anyone to add to a lego cityscape. I’ve never seen so many white lego blocks before.

Rooftop bar in Little Korea

Yes, that is the Empire State Building above our bar.


The real reason I was in the US was not to shop in the Garment District of NYC or sip cocktails in rooftop bars. It was to meet with colleagues in Washington DC and attend a chemistry conference in Boston.

Some of the products at the trade show associated with the conference:

Well this is not quite sewing content, but it’s the closest I’ve ever seen a chemistry conference get!

Boston is such an interesting mix of old and new. I love this image of the Old State House, built in 1713, with more modern buildings behind

And there are plenty of other examples of old and new in Boston

I noticed a yellow fire hydrant in front of a yellow bus, and then I saw yellow fire hydrants with other yellow objects, everywhere.

And in between all that chemistry conferencing I managed to buy another piece of fabric.

Winmill Fabrics was just around the corner from my hotel. How could I resist this drapey abstract floral jacquard in silvery blues?

It seems just perfect for this pattern (BurdaStyle 10/2012 #128). And I have an event coming up that needs a fancy frock.

I’ve always loved this pattern and this image (I think the hats might be part of the appeal).

I’m not sure the reversed pleats and the empire waist will be my friend, and the abstract floral with this design could look a bit dowdy, but I think I’ll give it a try.

Wish me luck!

Posted in travel | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Visiting New York’s Garment District

How has your July and August been?

I have had a great winter. I escaped twice to the northern hemisphere. Two lots of almost two week blocks of summer. (I know. I am very lucky). You’ve already heard about the first ‘escape’ to Northern Italy. The second one was to the US East Coast. It included a few days of free time in New York City with Samantha, a ‘craft lady’ from Adelaide.

You know what that meant. Garment District.


M&J Trimmings

A truly magnificent selection of ribbons, lace, trims, buttons, buckles, hardware…

Samantha and just some of the wonderful ribbons.

It was not possible to walk away without buying at least one of these beauties.

I so wished I had a project that needed feathers

Even the sticky tape dispensers were be-trimmed

Pacific Trimming

This place is zipper heaven

B&J Fabrics

Samantha posing with the mannequins

There were stunning designer fabrics here. A bit like visiting a museum.

Leather impact

We saw some amazing skins and hides here.

I was sorely tempted by a butter-soft baby blue leather. I need to brush up on my leather sewing skills. The last time I worked with leather was in my twenties (a tight black leather skirt for myself and my cousin – we looked great!)

Spandex House

No natural fibres were harmed in the creation of this explosion of colour and design!

I found a lovely springtime cityscape ITY print to bring home

And that striped fabric in the right hand corner was purchased too, but not at Spandex House.

Keep reading…

Mood Fabrics

Once we got here, I wondered why we had bothered going elsewhere. It’s truly a wonderful store. Totally lives up to expectations!

Some of the fabrics that ‘got away’

I didn’t leave this shop empty handed.

Two cotton voiles:


Birds and flowers and maps and botanicals! (excuse the multiple images; the pattern repeat is huge)

A vibrant stretch cotton chock-a-block with nasturtiums

A beautiful digital print polyester twill ( the last yard on the roll! lucky me)

And a most interesting mesh-like-knitted navy and white stripe cotton. The stripes are about 6 cm wide

It has good stretch and recovery, but I don’t think there is any spandex or similar elastic yarn in it. And neither did Etyjn- the stylish Eastern European-accented out of work fashion designer cutting the fabric for me at Mood- after he did a burn test.

Seriously, that’s what he did- pulled out a lighter and did the test on a scrap of fabric right there and then. I gawped, just like the out-of-towner that I was. Then the next out-of-work-designer at another cutting station did the same thing when I asked about fibre composition on another fabric. Clearly it’s just a thing they do. I loved it! I felt surrounded by amazing fabrics and encompassed about by stylish fashion experts with deep knowledge of textiles.

Enough gushing. Back to the fabric. The stretch seems to be knitted in: see that crimp in the thread fraying from the edge? I’m thinking this needs to be made into a slouchy summer sweater, perhaps with a hood. I don’t have a lot of fabric (suitcase size restrictions!) so it will have to be sleeveless or colour blocked.

Thank you Mood!

(Yes, my Jungle January dress went to New York too)

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