Tuesday, March 17, 2015

It's a winner!

It's not finished here... he was so excited .... I needed to finish one side of the zip, hemming  and the binding bit on the neckline.

We have two winners in fact. Alex LOVED the sweatshirt and Colesworth commented knowledgeably that it was Adventure Time show copy. When Alex came in on Sunday night and saw it (not quite finished) on the couch, he was happily shocked it was "so good".  When I told him I was making it for him on Saturday, he was being very polite and said "oh, thanks Mum, but no offence, I don't think I'll take it". He's at that age where perception is very important - if it was anything other than perfect, I knew he wouldn't wear it. I was very happy with his reaction. Such joy in making him happy!

If the sweatshirt wasn't an option, he (as most boys his age) wanted to go as some creepy, dark thing (wearing his cloak I made - so that's still good) but I came across a picture of a sweatshirt you can buy for about US$60.  It's printed with a little dog creature (don't know it's name) popping out of the pocket. Cute, but I had no transfer paper to do that, so it's left off.

This is the pattern I 'used'. I didn't put the ribbing on as I hate bomber jacket styles - all that puffiness! I put kangaroo pockets on instead. It was a good base and I made the 12 which was pretty true to size. I wished I'd made the 14 as he loves it, but maybe he'll be over it by then anyway.

Isn't my ironing board cover filthy. I have some Ikea fabric ready to make a new one, I made this one a few years ago.
 I made the 'backpack' by putting a dinner plate on the darker green and cutting it and some iron on interfacing.  I bought the lighter green as a remnant and sewed in on  as below. Then I put black bias binding through the middle and around the edge. A button represents the catch.

To make the straps I used the lighter green and made widish straps. The photos below show how to do this easily... leave a long tail with the overlocker thread, use a bodkin and thread it back through itself.. voila, easy.  Then I sewed some of the black bias on each side and straps replicated. I ended up sewing the straps down on the back at the top to keep them from falling off.

 I used the hood pattern from another Kwik Sew pattern. Pinned all around the 'backpack' before sewing it on the back.

I made the little ears with the white fleece and stuffed a bit of polyester filling in to keep them up. Then I cut a slit in the hood and sewed it in. The lining for the hood I made from an old white t-shirt of Alex's that was earmarked for sewing undies lining.

I have little eyelets but on the test sample it didn't work so I just made button holes, then  a casing and threaded through a long cord that I kept from some RTW thing. (pays to hoard some things).

Finished back, I sewed around the outside of the black bias putting the straps underneath for a nice neat finish. I just turned up the hem and the sleeves and used the twin needle. Fleece is so easy to sew! I also made him some shorts with the royal blue colour to finish the outfit. I made them from a Burda pattern in a size 12 but they just fit him and he probably won't wear them but I put them in anyway. So, there it is. I have to say I am impressed myself. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Can you guess?

Can you guess what this is going to be (it's nearly done!)

There has been sewing going on. My son goes to camp for a week tomorrow and needed a 'fancy dress costume'. (on a side note, I found out only after being the cray cray woman at school... they don't give ANY information about the camp so I only knew this because I asked for a copy of their schedule, how dare I? - I got it Friday.) I have made some shorts from some Indian cotton type heavy weave stuff (that was conveniently lying around) and then I had to make the top part. If you have an 8 - 13 or so year old boys around you might guess. I'm copying something I saw on the internet to buy... I'll show you my inspiration and the final results tomorrow. 

I went to East Coast Fabrics to get some fleece and bumped into Liz from Busy Lizzie in Brizzie. She's got so many things she needs to sew for at the moment, but I'm sure she'll do it. It was fun to get excited together about the fabrics instead of having my son negotiate going to the toy shop for the same amount of time! (I usually oblige... ). We have the Brisbane Sewers High Tea in two weeks and neither of us have made anything yet. I have a dress that needs about 20 minutes work but that was put on the back burner to help a friend finish off a school uniform for her daughter and this costume.

While running from the sewing machine to the overlocker, I made Asian style plum sauce. I went to the markets last weekend and got about 500g of president plums for $1 (they are my favourite plums but you don't see them much anymore - light green flesh with a deep plum coloured skin). They were in a punnet and I knew they'd be soft.. but $1 people. They were much softer a week later I can tell you.  I just got some basic ingredients from a recipe online and made it my own (not recorded actually) I did put in some whole dried chillies to give it a touch of oomph.

This is the finished result... not much there.. enough for us for a while though. I'm not a fan of plum sauce normally but that's more because of added extras I don't like.
What does it go with? Any hints?
Any ideas what costume I am making?

(on a side note, the wood you see behind the sauce are two rolling pins my Grandfather made. My Mother is Cypriot and they make a very thin pastry, that needs to be about 1 metre to 1.5 metres round,  and is rolled out using a long, thin rolling pin that has a taper at one end. The taper is to make the pin roll out in an arc and thereby getting the pastry as thin as possible. When I was in Cyprus in 1992, I asked my Grandfather to make me one and he jumped up immediately, went to the lemon tree, cut a straightish branch and whittled it there and then. Oh, I didn't mention he was 92 years old. That was the last holiday time I would see him as he died in 1995. I love my rolling pin. The metal thing behind is also from Cyprus (2009) and is like a sieve .. hand punched in decorative design.)
More in a few days.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Stash busting with Burda 2711 pyjamas

Finally I made some pjs. I made some about 18 months ago (with Butterick 6883) and I still wear the aqua ones (the others were a gift for my sister). The top on the Butterick was a bit wide in the front and the strap kept falling down... I say was, because I also fixed that up today and took  cm out of the width of the top edge (1.5cm each side) and resewed the binding straps and now they fit perfectly.

However, we are here to see the new Burda pyjamas.

They don't look so good on the mannequin as she is much wider in the shoulders than me. I made my bias binding for the arm holes/straps and the back, but I wanted a contrast for the front. I have a tiny piece of lace that was in my Mum's stash but I couldn't find it (of course) as I was going to put it under the matching bias but when I couldn't find it I decided to use the purchased (eons ago) bias as the colour was right, and then I found the ribbon so put that on too. I like that the ribbon and the contrast bias are not matching... the sort of silly detail you can decide on when you make it yourself.

Oops.. blurry photo of the fabric, bought bias and ribbon. This was a pattern I picked up recently at an Op Shop and there wasn't any instructions in it. Ha, no need for instructions, how hard are these to work out. I put pockets in the shorts (not really convinced I need pockets in the shorts but they are there now and when I am snivelling I might think otherwise) and put the binding on the front and back first and then made a ring of the bias for the straps and armholes and put in on in the round. Easy peasy. These are a much better shape for my small back and pocky out front. The darts are a little long but you don't see them with this busy print.

I sewed the bias on with the pink thread because I liked the contrast. There is quite the angle at that join! The fabric is a piece that came from Singapore when my friend was passing through about 6 years ago. I gave her some money to buy me some cottons and silks. She chose all the fabrics and funnily, there was 4 pieces and they all have floral details - the silk being embossed on, one half made into a dress that is floral but bigger (black and white roses- lovely) and the other one is a small paisley. This one is a bit cutesy for me but perfect for decent pyjamas.

Can't remember if there is a centre back seam or not on the pattern but I made one to save fabric (although what do I do with that small piece now?) but I think I really did it to make a sway back adjustment. However now I don't remember if I did and the fit indicates, if I did, it wasn't enough. I'm not worried. I slept in the shorts last night (that's why they are crumpled) but I only just finished the top.

They fit really well and I think I will keep this pattern for a go-to pyjama pattern. I have some lovely prints in my stash for gift pyjamas I think. The Butterick pattern is out!

Don't know what is next. We have the Brisbane Spoolettes meet up in March (on my birthday no less) and I want to make a dress... decisions, decisions!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Simplicity 9522 Jiffy

I made a stripy Super Jiffy Simplicity 9522. I made this last November and wore it to see Ed Kuepper  original member of the Brisbane band The Saints said to have started the punk rock movement. It was a free gig for the G20 meeting that was held here. It was a great gig.. Ed Keeper never disappoints (also loved his band The Laughing Clowns)... but hang on this is a sewing blog so onto the dress.

It's a very simple singlet style dress. The pattern shows it with a side split and self tie belt -both of which I didn't use.  The fabric is from Spotlight and one of the ones I've spoken about taking back.  It's a great weight cotton/poly knit with a great navy stripe... I really like it but.....

See the pilling? That's not even on a 'high traffic area' like on your hip where your bag rubs. That is really bad and pills the instant you wear it.

Good stripe matching on the back. The pattern doesn't call for using bands for the neckline or armholes but sometimes I think this is easier than turning it over and using the twin needle... I'm still yet to use the cover stitch machine (although in my defence, it hadn't been serviced when this was made - I bought it second hand for those that don't know or remember, that's why it needed a service before use - no excuses now as all the machines were serviced in December).

Now the pattern graphics show a really weird shaped neckline front and back, but it is like the photo shot. I found the 'straps' a little long and my error was to take an even amount off front and back and this turned out a little too much, making the armholes a little small and the dress rides up a bit. I also cut the back on in two pieces and added some seam allowance, and this allowed me to make a sway back adjustment which I need. I think I should bite the bullet and make a full bust adjustment to this and make it again. It is super easy and quick. Oh, I also added about 2cm to the hip area and then widened it to about 4 cm at the hem to fit my bottom half.  I think this is a good, basic singlet dress pattern that will be kept in my pattern collection.

I looked for the included "Time-Saver stretch knit methods" but didn't find anything out of the usual stuff and nothing that was even noted on the pattern as "Time-Saver" method! Oh this one was found at the Op Shop of course.

I found this dress at the op shop too... I like it a lot. What is not obvious is the ruched part is a separate piece so the amount of fabric needed is pretty small - 1.9m for a size 12. It has 3 options for the back neckline - low round, V and high neckline with a button closure, with the obvious 2 front necklines. Oh, View A has cap sleeves too... a nice option. That's it for the sewing ... I've got a few things still half done or not started, but the clearing of the pit is still in progress. Stay tuned.

Monday, February 2, 2015

What does Geoffrey Rush have to do with pavlova?

Photo from http://teaforsix.com here a lovely blog.
(This isn't mine but mine looks so similar but add mango, banana and passionfruit to the kiwi fruit and blueberries with raspberries if Alex hasn't eaten them yet).

At Christmas time, I wanted to make a pavlova for our dessert. We have some celiac relatives and I figured this was the easiest option, it's also cool and refreshing and with our fabulous fruits in season, a real winner. When I looked for a recipe, it came up with this Martha Stewart recipe - "courtesy of Geoffrey Rush"!

The clip is no longer available (and I have looked) but it seems to be about 8 years ago and apparently it is a recipe that his Grandmother used to make. Well I made it too and it's fabulous. I had only ever made one pavlova before and it wasn't great. I was always a bit fearful of making them, but it's really easy. It's a great dessert because it is quick - takes about 10 minutes to whip up and then only 1 hour in the oven and leave it in there to cool completely. It's also made with pretty basic things you always have on hand (or me at least) - sugar, vinegar, egg whites and corn flour, plus cream and fruit.

Of course I don't have a photo of any I made during this period. I made 2 to take to Christmas lunch, one to take to a friend's birthday dinner, one to the baby shower with quilt and another one for the Christmas bbq we had when Alex came back from the U.K. That's a lot of pavlovas in just 5 weeks! They all went down a treat. I must say I am not a fan of the commercial ones that are full of marshmallow type fluff...I'm not an egg fan so this reminds me of raw egg. I prefer my pavlova to be crunchy so I make mine about 2.5cm high which then rises a little. I also make it in a rectangle shape to the size of a large Tupperware container I have for transportation and airtightedness (ha what a word). I usually whip the cream with no icing sugar as I find the pavlova sweet enough but always put in some real vanilla bean (the pavlova too). I take a selection of cut up fruits and let people put their own cream and fruit to cater to the usual fusiness personal preferences.

Anyway, the recipe. I've just copied and pasted it here but really most pavlova recipes I've checked since seem to be very, very similar. Have a go for summer... it's easy and it impresses! Let me know if you try this or are adept at making pavlovas.


  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature 
  • Pinch of salt 
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch 
  • 2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar 
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream, whipped 
  • Fruit - these are the fruits I like, add whatever you like:
  • Passion fruit
  • Bananas
  • Mixed berries, such as raspberries, blueberries, strawberries
  • Mango

    1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.  Trace the perimeter of a 15cm bowl onto a sheet of parchment paper. Transfer parchment paper, pencil side down, to a baking sheet. Set aside. (when I make mine, I trace around the rectangle baking tray I like to use. )
    2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites and salt together until glossy peaks form. With mixer running, add sugar in three additions, beating until meringue is stiff and glossy. Sprinkle in cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla; gently fold to combine.
    3. Mound the meringue in the center of the 15cm circle (I  don't make it very high so it gets to about 5cm high so it stays pretty crunch!)v Using a spatula, evenly spread meringue out towards the edges. Transfer baking sheet to oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 120 degrees celsius. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
    4. Turn off oven and let meringue cool completely in oven. When meringue is cool and completely dry, top with whipped cream and desired fruits.

      5. Eat!