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 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!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Star Wars Shorts and random t-shirts

I found this shorts pattern recently at a Salvo's second hand shop... that was a great haul as I got about 20 patterns for $3! How could I leave them. I thought this was a bit more grown up style with the flat waistband at the front and the fly, as opposed to the Burda elastic waist shorts I usually make for Alex. I have always liked New Look patterns too but never made one for a boy before. The pieces were a different shape to the Burda but I though it wouldn't matter if they didn't fit really well as the time a boy wears clothes when growing isn't that long and this was an experiment in fit and pattern brand to see it this could be used in the next few years. 

Bit poufy at the front, but I might superimpose the Burda crotch shape there and make this a go to pattern. Alex was impressed that he had a fly!
You can see here that the stitching would have benefited being a bit longer... next time. Pretty good fly though!
Pocket stitching

I used red top stitching thread... it's really gorgeous stuff. I've never used it before but I definitely will again. The only thing I thought of after finishing was that I should have lengthened the stitch. The fabric is a fine shirt weight cotton that Spotlight had a couple of months ago and I bought 2 metres of it. Funnily, when I first bought it (I bought 2 other Star Wars prints at the same time) of the three this is the one Alex was ho hum about, but when I finally got ready to make shorts, he picked this one saying it was nice and light for the heat. 

The waistband is made with elastic to about the pocket line in the front. It suggests interfacing only to this line, which I did and regret as did Fadanista in a recent vintage garment. I won't do that again as if you look a couple of photos down, the button hole stretched out. That's for two reasons, one being lack of interfacing and the other being that the waistband was a bit short for some reason and I had to make a slanted end (embarrassing or design feature? Embarrassing I think!) so I made the button hole on the slant not thinking about the fabric then being on the bias.. live and learn.

The elastic I used was the button hole type you find in rtw boys shorts. I really like this as I find it extends the life of the garment. I didn't put buttons on both ends but just sewed down the elastic on the other end. I used the industrial method for the waistband and used the selvage for the finish - I didn't grade out the interfacing as you can see.. I'll fix this up later (sure). Boys tend to grow up but not out so much so these are a little long but I think will be ok for next summer too. Our winter often allows the wearing of shorts at times also.

Here's that bad button hole... next.

I made the t-shirts below a few weeks ago from fabric I bought at Darn Cheap Fabrics and some as did Lara recently. I saw this green cotton with sharks print and knew it was perfect for Alex. This is some heavy cotton... probably too thick for our summer but it will be perfect for winter and autumn. I only bought 60cms but wished I bought more as it is great weight for shorts.

I finished the sleeves and hem with one of the fancy stitches to mimic the stitches, you know like, if  that shark had bitten you!

This is the second t-shirt I made. The print is from Darn Cheap the green was leftovers from a t-shirt I made earlier for Alex and a lighter fabric, this one has some spandex (from East Coast Fabrics) but the print is just a very light weight cotton. Again I just bought 60cms of this and wished I bought more. It is the perfect weight for summer and light and cool.

I used the remnants from the printed fabric for the sleeves of the last t-shirt. The grey is from East Coast Fabrics too and leftovers from another shirt. This one still needs hemming and the neck band finished. Alex loves the t-shirts but I made them the same size as the merino ones in December, but they are a little big... that's ok often it's only a few weeks between a too big and just right fitting t-shirt when you are 10 going on 11.

I put my label on the grey one. Now that I'm getting used to making t-shirts I don't think I'll buy one again. I've said before that Alex is very particular about what he likes on his t-shirts print wise, and although I KNEW he would love the sharks, I was not so sure about the white print... he doesn't like skulls at all, but luckily he did like the randomness of the print. I would love to buy more of those printed fabrics from Darn Cheap but they aren't on their website and I emailed them to see if they could send some anyway, but I haven't heard back. Maybe I should try and ring them? That's enough boy sewing for now though, don't you think. I have bought even more fabric (wrist slap) from a designer sale that I stumbled across (luckily?) last week so I'll photograph those and my Melbourne purchases in the next post.. plus the pavlova recipe I said I would but instantly forgot!

Just an offside, when I bought the Star Wars fabric, I asked how much it was as it was on sale and the lady said it was $9.99 pm and all three were the same price so I got 2 metres of each (I mean how often have you seen Star Wars, only time in 10 years). When I got home I realised she had charged one at some phenomenal price so I went back to get it fixed up. There she realised she had charged the other two (or the computer did rather) at $4 per metre and the one I was returning at $29 pm or something ridiculous. She said she can't charge the correct price on the underpriced one as it's gone and not my fault, but she refunded the overcharge on the returned fabric. So huge score... I didn't even notice the underpriced one until she pointed it out. I don't even feel bad as currently I have some $25 pm laminated cotton fabric that runs terribly when wet I bought there a little while ago.

I'd also like it known that I am one of the few persons in the Western world that has not seen any of the Star Wars movies, even though I was the right age demographic when they were released and remember them being at the movie cinemas... no interest then and none now. Anyone else out there?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

More (plain; boring; simple) sewing for others.

This is a chair bag. In the primary school my son goes to they store their books in this bag that hangs on their chair. I am not enamoured with this principle but abide by it. I made Alex a chair bag last year... this one with a "W" is obviously not for him but the brother of Alex's best friend. They sell really ugly bottle green ones for $7 at the school but a personalised one is much better in my opinion... I mean if you have to have the ugly chair bag may as well be one that looks a little interesting, no?

My friend gave me the fabric last Thursday. She was clearing a storage shed where she has been storing her and her husband's stuff for the last 10 years while working overseas, came across this and decided she's not getting the opportunity to use it any time soon and so she offered it to me. It's a very good quality, heavy Indian cotton ribbed fabric for upholstery use and perfect for a chair bag for a boy.

I have some Star Wars fabric bought recently to make shorts for Alex and I thought William would like his initial on his bag with this fabric. A quick appliqué job; sew up the sides with a double row of  triple stitch after overlocking and bam, it's done. I sent a photo to my friend to show William and "he is impressed!" Very pleasing as we all know how fussy 8 year old boys can be. Another happy customer.

I have been sewing - some Star Wars shorts for Alex (with a different Star Wars fabric) and three t-shirts; two of which are finished and one just waiting for the neck binding and the hemming of the sleeves. Hopefully that will be finished up today or tomorrow. See you then.