Sunday, November 7, 2010

Another Christmas Gift Ticked Off The List

This is a quick one! Another one for one of the little girlies in the family. I have made this smock before and was very happy with the end result. This little smock can be worn apron style over clothes or as a summer top with pants or a skirt. I got the pattern a couple of years ago here at The Mayfly.

I used a super cute retro print cotton and vintage bias binding in a red candy stripe. Cut out, and bind. Simple! The odd shape above crosses over at the back and ties at the shoulders.

Last time I made one of these Coen was small enough to model it for me, unfortunately, he's a giant now so I don't have a model, but you get the idea!

That's another gift ticked off the list.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Socks of The Apocalypse

I don't have hobbies. I have a post apocalyptic skill set. Now that skill set includes sock knitting! And it took the apocalypse to make me finish the hideous things.

Last year I decided to try knitting socks. I had knitted all kinds of garments and accessories before and while I didn't doubt that I had the ability to knit socks, I didn't want to "waste' any of my beautiful hand dyed sock yarns on my first pair. So I picked up some cheap Moda Vera Noir, in what turned out to be a pretty poxy colourway and got started. That was 18 months ago. The pattern was easy, Wise Hilda's Basic Ribbed Socks. The yarn was ugly, it took me weeks to finish the first sock because I just didn't enjoy knitting the ugly. I had heard that casting on the second sock right away is the best way to avoid the dreaded second sock syndrome, so I did that. It didn't work. I wanted to knit pretty things so I put the ugly socks away.

Recently Darron and I were discussing my post apocalyptic skills. We came to the conclusion that in a post apocalyptic world (zombie infested or otherwise) socks would be pretty high on our list of must haves, as well as being really useful for trade. Yes, we think about these things! So I sucked it up and finished the sock. And they're comfy, they fit perfectly, are lovely and cozy and are still hideous.
Now that I have knocked over my first pair I can't wait to start the next pair. You can't be too prepared!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Time to Get Cracking on Christmas

I'm on holiday! Yay! We're visiting Darron's hometown this week and staying with my wonderful in laws. Unfortunately, this means that I'm away from all my equipment and fabric, and yarn (except for the big bag of knitting I brought along) so even though it is well and truly time to get cracking on the Christmas gifts, I'm just going to have to wait until we get home. Of course I may have to visit the wonderful little fabric and quilting shop just around the corner here. She stocks a wonderful range of bag handles!

Before we left I did manage to get started on the Christmas stuff. I have a stack of doll and toy making books from the 70s & 80s. Some have come from my mum, some from op shops and some I am quite sure magically appeared on my shelves as I have no recollection of their acquisition.

They are chock full of strange and wonderful toys, and once you get your mind past the interesting fabric choices and odd expressions on the toys faces, there are some great basic toy patterns. The chickens below were made from a pattern in the book above. Two fat quarters and some felt scraps and fabric paint, all of which I had sitting about.

They were easy, quick, and will be perfect for one of my little nieces for Christmas!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Join The Club

I'm such a joiner!

I've joined the Crafty Christmas Club started by the lovely Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons fame. We're all crafting for Christmas! I have a few things to get done, especially for the kids of the family, so I hope the club will kick start my motivation and inspiration! Come on by and join in the fun!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Getting Back in the Spin

I feel like I have been abandoned by my creativity lately. I can't get motivated to start anything. I just spend hours flicking through my sewing and knitting patterns and surfing the interwebs in search of inspiration. The strange thing is that when all my knitting and sewing mojo has vanished, my spin mojo has returned! I haven't managed to spin anything for months! But this last week, a bunny brought my mojo back and I managed to spin 150g of Ixchel Super Angorino.

I even got some decent yardage form it. 305 metres of 4/5ply weight smooshy goodness!

I guess I'll just keep spinning until inspiration for something else smacks me in the face!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

SSS Ends in a Fizzle

My Self Stitched September didn't end with the bang I had imagined. It fizzled out in the midst of illness and grief. Here are the last few outfits I managed before I had to pull the pin:

The last couple of weeks have been difficult. I fell ill, my grandfather passed away quite suddenly, and we discovered that my son has asthma. This week things are getting back to normal, and I am looking forward to waking this little blog back up.

Coming soon: The biggest, most important sewing project I have ever attempted! My best girl Em and I have started work on her wedding dress!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

SSS Day 18, Day 19 and a Versatile Tail

Lately I haven't been feeling particularly creative. I finished a couple of great projects, but then fell into a bit of a funk. None of my patterns appealed to me. I trawled the internet for inspiration, patterns, anything, and came up empty handed. Yesterday my mojo came back. I felt like making something and found inspiration in some of the most boring fabric I own! Plain grey wool blend knit fabric plus a 1975 super basic dress pattern and I had something to do.

The pattern has a cowl neckline, but I changed it to a V neck because I tend to unconsciously pick at cowl necks, constantly rearranging them. I do the same with strapless tops, constantly adjusting. I'm guessing that the pattern is from 1975 as that is the date the original owner has written on the back that she purchased it. It is also supposed to have encased elastic at the waist. I left it out so that I could belt it high or low as the mood takes me. All in all, it's not the prettiest dress around, but it's warm, comfortable and easy to move around in, so I'm happy.

Today's outfit is all self stitched. A refashioned skirt, v neck top and waistcoat. Today we went to a fabric sale, and I showed extreme self control and only bought a couple of things.

Coen picked out some grey fleece for a tail. He's wanted a tail longer than he wanted wings. Here's what we came up with this afternoon. It's a versatile tail! Already it has belonged to a kangaroo, a triceratops, a tyrannosaurus rex and whole tribe of other dinosaurs. Amazing what you can do with half a metre of polar fleece, some stuffing, elastic and a free half hour. One happy kid!

Friday, September 17, 2010

SSS Days 15, 16 and 17

For some reason I had been keeping this dress in reserve for a special occasion. Then I remembered that every day has the potential to be a special occasion and threw it on to go shopping today! It's not really suited to cold weather, but with thick tights, long boots and cardigan I'm toasty warm!

Yesterday was a work day, which threw my whole week out because I usually work Tuesdays, but this week got all twisted about so Mr Huff could do his promotion exam for work on Tuesday. I wore a refashioned work shirt with a thrifted skirt.

The shirt is the uniform for the Jakarta branch of the business I work for. They send XXXL shirts to my colleague Al. They love Al because he's very tall and broad. However Al has recently dropped loads of weight and the XXXL shirts swim on him. When the latest batch arrived I offered to take it in for him, then we decided that I should take it in for me and we could have matching uniforms! So I took it up, took it in, added darts and puffy sleeves. Here it is in its original state! HUGE!

On Wednesday we went to Carlton to catch up with my in laws who were in town with Darron's uncle who had triple bypass surgery that afternoon (it went well and he's recovering nicely). We had a lovely lunch with them and then went to the Melbourne Museum to look at the dinosaur bones. The self stitched components of this outfit are my skirt and triangle shawl. The rest are all wardrobe staples, the umbrella was purchased that afternoon when the weather couldn't make up its mind about what it was doing. Melbourne weather at its best!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Days 12, 13 & 14

The last three days have covered all facets of proper spring weather! On Sunday there were showers all day. My navy trousers are getting a real work out this month! My waist coat is getting more use now and my red v neck top got another outing.

Monday was a work day, hence the delightful photo of me half awake at seven in the morning! There's that waist coat again! I made the skirt about 12 months ago, the fabric is vintage wool and it's just dorky enough to make me very happy. The shirt is from Target, I can't remember where the olive tights came from, and my little tree brooch is by Elk.

And then today the sun came out again, it was gorgeous, but not very warm! Navy pants again, (and again and again!) and my burgundy T, both made by me. The cropped jacket is from Stussy. I made the cheesy kid too. This is us dashing out the door to take him to kindergarten. I didn't notice at the time that I was standing right on top of that little pot pant!

The knit tops above were both made from my mum's patterns. both from the 1980s too.

I have view A of the Kwik Sew in burgundy and view D of the Butterick in bright red. Both were super easy, super quick and have helped build my confidence in sewing knits !

Saturday, September 11, 2010

SSS Day 10 and 11

Day ten. Hmmm, not my best. I had a really bad day yesterday, every little thing ticked me right off. As a result there are no photos of yesterday's outfit (purple shirt and grey waistcoat) as I knew the whole photography biz would have pushed me over the edge and possibly made me too crazy to live with.

Happily today I am feeling much better! It may have something to do with the sunshine. It has been raining so much here I almost forgot what a sunny day looked like!

My new cardigan. I may just wear this every day until it falls to bits. Yay for project satisfaction! Add to that my Damson shawl, thrifted jeans, thrifted sunnies and generic grey tank, and you have me today. I haven't ventured far enough from home to even need shoes today.

I have noticed that this month my laundry habits are a bit different from usual. There is a rule at my house that if it was hand made, it gets hand washed. I have relaxed that a little as with limited wardrobe options I have to launder more frequently and I just don't have the time (or the inclination to be perfectly honest) to do a batch of hand washing every day. Not the most interesting thing about Self Stitched September I'm sure!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

SSS Day 8, Day 9 and Olivette

Day eight of SSS saw the first wearing of my Olivette cardigan! I had sewn on the buttons the evening before and was a little bit excited that it was finished! Worn with my refashioned skirt that used to be jeans and a red cami.

Day nine, today in fact, I wore my self stitched trackies in the morning for the washing, cleaning, and dog walking. This afternoon I'm into my procrastination skirt and grey wool waistcoat. I can't believe it has taken me this far into the month to wear this waistcoat. Strange happenings!

Back to my new cardigan. The pattern is Olivette, an easy, fairly quick knit resulting in a sweet versatile cardigan.
I used Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 10 ply in Lake which is lovely and soft, very affordable, seems to be about to pill already and stretches abominably when wet. It should be alright as long as I keep on top of the pilling and block it properly after every wash. What I really love about it is the colour!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

SSS Days 6 & 7 - My working week

That's the first week of Self Stitched September done and dusted. I work Monday's and Tuesdays so today and yesterday's outfits only just managed to get photographed in daylight as I ran out the door in the mornings!

I'm putting buttons onto my Olivette cardigan tonight so I can wear it tomorrow!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

SSS Day 5 - Happy Fathers Day

Day 5 of SSS and it is Fathers Day!
My navy wool pants are getting another outing today. Along with my green shirt, a thrifted brown belt and my wooden birds necklace (also thrifted).

I'm hoping to finish a couple of things off this afternoon/evening, including a shirt and my Olivette cardigan. Tomorrow and Tuesday are my work days so it's going to be a challenge to get photos as I leave at 7.30 am and get home at 6pm. Lunch break pics may be the answer!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Day 4 - Down Came The Rain

It has been raining solidly for the last 12 hours. Our backyard is a swamp, the main street is flooding, the golf course is a river and trees are coming down everywhere! I really hope our hill doesn't tun into an island, I need to shop for buttons!

I'm finding SSS quite motivating. This morning I pulled out a couple of items I had planned to refashion, but never got around to doing. I spent five minutes sewing up this skirt from a pair of my old jeans that I had already cut. Five minutes from ruined to useful! They were wide leg jeans too, so no extra panels needed. Put that together with a plain T and hand knit vest and today's outfit is sorted! Accented nicely by my red slippers, no point in putting on shoes as I have no intention of going out in the deluge!

My other accessory in the photo is Skye, who has come to visit us while my parents are in China.

Friday, September 3, 2010

SSS Day 2 & 3

Day two and three of Self Stitched September:

I spent Thursday hanging about the house. We tidied up and I did a heap of sewing. I still managed to wear hand made though! That's a v necked T made by me, and the track pants I made last week. And just for fun on of my gazillion thrifted scarves!

Today Coen and I are going shopping for Fathers Day gifts. It's cold, and the weather is destined to get really miserable later so due to my limited supply of self stitched trousers, my thrifted jeans are making an appearance. Along with a purple raglan sleeved shirt I made a couple of years ago and my hand knitted Onerva triangle shawl. I got the belt and the grey top from Target last year.

Come on spring! I need some nicer weather to get the most out of my self stitched wardrobe!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Self Stitched September!

September 1, first day of spring (although you wouldn't know it here!), my step dad Ed's birthday, and the first day of Self Stitched September! And here is my first outfit of the month:
Navy wool trousers, burgundy t shirt, green cardigan, all made by me! The scarf is thrifted. This was warm enough for the miserable rainy weather we had today. It took me out to the library, and shopping, and to lunch and then to the indoor playground for coffee with my sister in law while our boys played.

Then to make the first day of SSS memorable, a second outfit! Today is my step father Ed's 60th birthday and the family went out for dinner to celebrate. I wore my procrastination skirt, but wasn't happy with any of the tops I had for the occasion so I made this red one this afternoon! It's another of my mum's patterns, early eighties, Butterick 3969 in bright red interlock from my stash. It says on the pattern that you can make it in two hours. I did! I took my Damson shawl along in case I got chilly, but as you can see from the roaring fire and my rosey cheeks, I didn't really need it!

So that's one day down, 29 to go!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Self Stitched September starts tomorrow! I have my first outfit picked out and ready to go. To really get things rolling along I'll end up needing two outfits tomorrow, as there's a birthday to be celebrated!

This past week I've been doing a bit of a stocktake on my self stitched wardrobe. Looking at what I have, what I need and what goes with what. I have discovered that I may need (want) a couple more options by the time the month is half over! The current wardrobe consists of:
  • 4 skirts

  • 1 dress

  • 4 shirts (plus one currently under construction)

  • 3 knit tops

  • 2 pairs of trousers

  • 1 pair of shorts

  • 1 waistcoat

  • 2 pairs of bloomers

  • 3 hand knit cardigans (plus one currently under construction)

  • 2 hand knit vests

  • A pile of scarves, shawls, hats and gloves

Not bad! There are a couple of items there that I don't think will get worn. If that happens they will get donated to the op shop. If it doesn't get worn in Self Stitched September, chances are it's not going to be worn ever! It's still fairly cold in my neck of the woods, maximum temps no higher than 12C predicted for the rest of the week. It would be nice to have a self stitched coat, but the problem is I don't actually need another coat, so it would be a waste of time and fabric to make one just for this month. I'm sure I'll survive!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Because if there is one thing my Self Stitched September needs, it's blue booty shorts!

After changing my mind several times about including some work out wear of the self stitched variety I discovered that I actually needed a new pair of track pants. I pulled out my mountain of fleecy interlock and had a sweats sewing day! I made pants, because I need them for house work days, and walking the dog, and generally being comfortable. I also made running shorts, because they're cute, and silly, and I think my trainer will get a giggle out of them.

I do love a bit of instant gratification! Both are from this Simplicity pattern, again borrowed from my mum. I love multi size patterns, so much easier to draft up a couple of sizes!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Common Sense Prevails

I set out to make myself a pair of 1940s style, high waisted, wide legged trousers. I want a pair desperately. I was about to begin cutting out a pattern for these trousers when a little part of my brain, usually quiet, shouted "STOP!"

That little part of my brain was my oft forgotten common sense. It implored that I should remember my reaction to every single high waisted article of clothing that I have ever tried on, that severe 'yeuch' reaction to the way they make my tummy stick out and my rear look gigantic and square. It suggested that for my first foray into trouser construction that I stick to a style I'm comfortable with at first and avoid making something disappointing that ends up hiding in the back of my wardrobe feeling sorry for itself.

I am happy to report that common sense prevailed!

They are a navy heavy weight wool, (another bargain from the op shop!) and the pattern is 105 from Burda mag2/2008. This was my first try at making a zippered fly, and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was, once I had wrapped my head around the concept! I made the cuffs bigger and made them the right length to wear with flat shoes so they can be my hard wearing knock about pants.

I really think I am going to need at least another pair of trousers for Self Stitched Sept, and a couple more casual tops. I think this week I'll pull out all the handmade, take inventory and see what I actually have!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Procrastination in Black Gingham

I am a master of the fine art of procrastination. I use sewing and knitting as procrastination tools, usually to ignore the washing, or the vacuuming, or that slightly funky smell coming from the refrigerator, or the mounting pile of clothes requiring repairs. Lately I have noticed that I am also using projects to procrastinate about other projects. For example: I want to make myself some trousers. I have the fabric, the zip, the pattern, all ready to go. However this pattern is more adventurous than my previous forays into sewing trousers, ie not tracky dacks or pyjama pants. I had planned to start them last week, gathered all the things together, was ready to begin... and made a skirt instead.

It's a very versatile skirt, goes with loads of things in my wardrobe, has already been worn on the weekend. But it is not the trousers I set out to make! The pattern is 107 from Burda mag 2/2009.

And below is what I like to wear under skirts. I made these bloomers a little while ago, they're super comfortable, make my skirts sit nicely and were the perfect use for bright yellow tropical fish fabric!

I am now working on the trousers I was putting off. They are coming along quite nicely, not nearly as scary as anticipated!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Costume Drama

Apparently August is Party Month. We've got parties on every weekend for the whole month! Three of them are children's parties! The month is only half done and I'm exhausted. The party that Coen attended today was my cousin Maddie's 5th Birthday and a Where The Wild Things Are party. Off course this required a costume and Coen would never choose to just be a generic wild thing or monster, he wanted to go as the bird monster. Because I am a super awesome mum I had a crack at what I am sure will be the first of many costumes for this kid.

One old white towel, some of my never ending stash of grey fleece fabric, some yellow felt and there you have it, bird monster. He liked it. So much so that he wore the hood to the supermarket yesterday!

The poor boy has waited a long time for some wings, I promised him ages ago that I would make him some. I hadn't thought about incorporating them into a garment until this week though. I made the top based on one of his larger jumpers so it should fit him for a while. The trick now is going to be getting him out of it for bed tonight!