<![CDATA[Sew Together - Our Blog]]>Fri, 11 Dec 2015 01:48:09 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Some Frankenpatterning]]>Tue, 17 Jun 2014 09:49:02 GMThttp://www.sewtogether.com.au/our-blog/some-frankenpatterningDo you think this:
Plus this (the simple skirt without the bustle):
Could possibly equal something like this?

That is my sewing project for this week. It is Indie Pattern Month over at the Monthly Stitch and this week's competition is all about Franken Indie. For my non-sewing friends Franken patterning is all about taking different patterns and merging them together to create something new.

Yesterday I tried to engage that little bit of my brain that is reserved for maths. I think it has shrunk. I started very methodically, flat pattern measuring, changing darts into princess seams, adding here and subtracting there and slowly becoming more and more confused. So fingers crossed a bit of good luck and some stretchy fabric will see me through. Watch this space. (Or not if it is a total disaster.)

This weeks competition is called New to Me - use a pattern from an independent pattern designer whose patterns you have not used before.

I used the Sinbad and Sailor Dove Fitted T pattern
Hand stitching the hems and lots of french seams created a project with a finish I was proud of. Have a look at the inside of my top...
You can check out all the other competition entries here. You can also vote for your favourite...
Just in case you might be interested ;) mine is listed as New To Me - Dove Fitted T in the voting form!

Voting closes June 20th.
<![CDATA[Grading up and Grading Down - our beautiful Madeleine]]>Fri, 13 Jun 2014 14:05:56 GMThttp://www.sewtogether.com.au/our-blog/grading-up-and-grading-down-our-beautiful-madeleine
Madeleine recently turned 9.
She is still happy to jump on the carousel (Akubra and all) to celebrate her birthday, but not before quietly checking "Mum, do you think 9 is too old to go on the Merry-go-round?" I don't think I have to let you know my answer...
She is so excited to help out at her brother and sister's birthday parties but doesn't want to get dressed up in case anyone thinks she is a guest rather than "the big sister".
Her favourite way to be woken up in the morning is for me to jump into her bed and snuggle her from her sleep. But at school drop off she is gone in a flash without a backwards glance...
She is full of big ideas and plans. She loves reading, she remembers the most eclectic mix of facts and she definitely doesn't like maths. She is ready to fight any injustice that she recognises with the enthusiasm that only a 9 year old could have...

Sewing for Madeleine is also at the in between stage
. She is very tall for her age.
She doesn't wear a school uniform and is very thoughtful about what she wears, every day!! She doesn't follow trends (I don't think she is even aware that trends exist) but she has a very distinctive style.
She loves foxes - as we all know the fox is the new owl!!
For this years birthday outfit, I used an adult pattern for her for the first time - I graded down the Esme top from Sew Liberated. I used the smallest size and fairly randomly ran the sides in and reduced the size of the arm hole and neck by sewing very wide shoulder seams - not at all scientific I know!

Mum crocheted the hat for her. She loves it. The surprisingly warm weather we have had up until the last week has not discouraged her from wearing it almost everyday.

Her shorts (Finch shorts from Clever Charlotte) needed to be graded up quite significantly. I was very pleased how they turned out (I do love velvet winter shorts with tights or leggings!!) and excited that we may get another year out of this very cute pattern.
We spent her birthday in the Chinese Gardens in Darling Harbour. It was a perfect way to spend the day. You can rent traditional Chinese costumes and wander around the gardens. It is such a fun place to take photos.

The look of thrilled amazement when she first saw herself in the mirror...

Everyone together...
Our beautiful birthday girl...
<![CDATA[Will's 4th Birthday]]>Mon, 26 May 2014 12:31:16 GMThttp://www.sewtogether.com.au/our-blog/wills-4th-birthdayOne of the things I liked most about blogging regularly  was the commitment I made to photograph the sewing I had completed and to take the time to regularly photograph Madeleine, Pippa and Will.

So the recent default position has been a lot less documentation of our lives.
I have made things and given them away. With my "just in time" technique of gift giving most of these gifts were not photographed.
And photos of the children? Well they have certainly happened but they are mostly messy group photos captured at parties or big events. They don't seem to really capture where they are right now.

So now is a perfect opportunity to change this...

Pip, Will and Madeleine have their birthdays within 6 weeks of each other and we are right in the middle of that run. Two birthdays and one party down and one birthday and two parties to go. Having written that, I wonder why I am writing a blog post rather than baking furiously or crafting up a birthday party storm. Procrastination (aka my "just in time" technique) is my strength.

So let's start with Will...

He turned 4 recently. He is sweet and delightful and won't let go of you when you give him a hug. His little arm creeps up around your neck and holds on tight. He is cheeky and busy and rides a scooter like a demon. He wakes up in the morning and always comes in for a snuggle. He makes his big sisters laugh all the time. He can sew on a button in a flash and loves helping me out when I am sitting at my sewing machine. He still calls me Mamma...
He had a circus birthday party with our family and his school friends. Here he is concentrating hard so he doesn't fall off the "tight rope"
I discovered the Sis Boom Ethan Shirt last year and love it. I have made 5 of these shirts - 3 for Will and two of the adult versions - one for Rob and one for my Dad. With these two shirt patterns (a total investment of $US20) I will be able to make Will a yearly Birthday and Christmas shirt until the day I die - the child version is from size one to 14 and the adult from XS to 3XL...

And for my scootering super hero - a super hero t shirt with some ideas to aspire to.
I used this great tutorial from Girl Like the Sea and the Made by Rae Flashback Skinny tee - I have lost track of how many of those I have made...

So, I feel better now. I have recorded a few of the truly fantastic moments I have shared with my family.
<![CDATA[The Monthly Stitch]]>Sun, 18 May 2014 13:09:17 GMThttp://www.sewtogether.com.au/our-blog/the-monthly-stitch
The Monthly Stitch
So it's been a while...
Caroline and I are both well.
All our kids are happy and healthy.
I am still sewing.
For me and the kids and even a little bit for Rob.
Without much direction.
But having lots of fun.
And still buying much too much fabric.

I really enjoyed the sense of community that blogging brings, so I have signed up for the Monthly Stitch
and just posted my first project. For a little bit of fun I thought I would post it here as well. I am hoping the monthly challenges will create some focus in my sewing. I am also hoping it will result in some stash busting - otherwise one day I will drown in the sea of fabric that is taking over our home...

May Challenge - Sew Stretchy

For the month of May I thought I would try out the newNettie Body Suit from Closet Case Files. It appealed to me because it is a simple pattern and I have a soft spot for body suits. I loved wearing them when I was younger. I think I would have been in my early 20s the last time I wore one.

This pattern comes with lots of different options – high neck, scoop neck, high back, medium back, low back, a variety of different sleeve lengths and even a dress version. I kept it simple – high back and and scoop neck.

Despite the simplicity of this pattern, I learned a lot during this challenge.

I made 2 body suits in very different knits.

First there was a red and white striped version made from a Riley Blake knit – this is a very stable cotton spandex with a 50% crosswise stretch.

The second one is a polyester elastane blend from spotlight – a lot lighter and drapier than the stripey knit and a bit of a pain to sew. Its crosswise stretch is probably closer to 75%.
Overall I think the fit is pretty good. However I was disappointed to see how much the back armscyes pull despite it fitting well elsewhere

It is certainly much more prominent in the more stable stripey knit than the softer drapier one despite me using exactly the same sized


Checking back on the Closet Case Files website I noticed this post about the sizing of the Nettie pattern. I think that there has been some concern that the original sizing was on the small side and that the pattern has been resized to fix this. The general suggestion is that you should size up by one size. I think it may be a little more subtle that this. The drapier knit with the greater crosswise stretch looks pretty good. So I think that it is the combination of a stable knit and a high back that has caused most of the problems with my body suit.  The deep and mid back versions are going to have much more give and naturally create a wider back than the high back version.With these versions of the body suit I would think a very fitted garment would be essential to stop it slipping off the shoulders.

I think this shows the subtlety I sometimes see when sewing with knits. Knit projects are generally quick sews. But there is always an unpredictability – how will the stretch and drape influence the finished garment?  This is one of the great pleasures of sewing – yes there is science but there is an art that takes time and thought to develop. I am still working on the art!!!

So what else have I learned?

  • I think this pattern has real potential and I will certainly be making more.
  • I need to think more about the influence of the type of knit I choose in each project I make, even if I have sewn it up before.
  • I will size up for all future high back Netties.
  • If I am ever brave enough to make a low or mid back one, I don’t think I would automatically size up, particularly if I was using a stretchy drapey knit.
  • I still like wearing body suits

Check out this Nettie. So, so beautiful. This pattern has so much potential!

Finally, note to self – next time iron your Hummingbird skirt before you photograph it!!

<![CDATA[Maybe...]]>Fri, 17 Jan 2014 11:59:42 GMThttp://www.sewtogether.com.au/our-blog/maybe ]]><![CDATA[Performance enhancing drugs were used...]]>Wed, 27 Feb 2013 03:06:29 GMThttp://www.sewtogether.com.au/our-blog/performance-enhancing-drugs-were-usedThis has felt what I imagine being in the Tour de France would be like (OK,  may be not quite... but work with me!!) Lots of hard work, what feels like endless hills and that knowledge that if I lose sight of the peloton, I will never catch up.

So I haven't quite caught up, but with a few little helpers, the peloton remains in sight. And those helpers are lots of caffeine and my sewing machine. I know this is supposed to be a handstitched class and a sewing machine could only be considered performance enhancing, but for me it was the only way!! The storm at sea corner blocks are designed to be English paper pieced - I admit mine were machine paper pieced. This left me a little time to catch up on my embroidery round. I will miss those running stitch half square triangles, but will be very pleased to see the last of the satin stitch jewels - I have found those lots of hard work. Only 5 and a half to go!

So wish me luck- if I keep working at this weeks pace, I may get to wear that gold jersey yet!!
<![CDATA[A Sewing Basket for a Primary School Classroom]]>Mon, 28 Jan 2013 09:43:41 GMThttp://www.sewtogether.com.au/our-blog/a-sewing-basket-for-a-primary-school-classroomIt's an exciting time for our local Montessori school. They have been providing a fantastic educational environment (no I'm not biased!!!) for children aged 3 to 6 since 1976. This week, after many years of planning and preparation, they open the doors to a beautiful Primary School - children age 6 to 9 will be able to continue their educational journey in the most beautiful of school surroundings - an old sandstone school hall with soaring ceilings and dark timber beams.

So many people have been involved in setting up this lovely space. I was lucky enough to be asked to create a sewing basket for the classroom. The girls and I love to sew together and so I have enjoyed putting together a basket that will hopefully encourage other children to find pleasure in making and creating.
First of all there are 3 sets of scissors - I think of them as Dadda, Mamma and Baby Bear scissors but they are really scissors for adults, for children and embroidery scissors. I thought it would be fun to use some of the scraps I have from the Sew Stitchy collection.
And then there is a pin cushion...
That central Ohio Star is only 2  3/4 inches wide - so I'm quite proud of myself!!! My own pin cushion is far less flash!

And finally a needle book  - the other project I completed last week for the Hand Stitched Course.
I am excited about adding this project to the sewing basket. All the stitching that can be seen is hand done and with some help and direction the children in the class could make one too.

There is also a box of embroidery and standard sewing thread...
Finally a stitch ripper, a needle threader, a jar of fun buttons and some embroidery hoops.

Did I miss anything? I would love to know if you would add anything else.


<![CDATA[Handstitched Week One]]>Mon, 21 Jan 2013 11:36:33 GMThttp://www.sewtogether.com.au/our-blog/handstitched-week-oneLast week was the first week of Rachel from Stitched in Color's Handstitched course. Week One is all about reverse applique.
I have really enjoyed the week and have completed two of the 3 offered projects.
Firstly, I made a little felt needle book. I am going to put it into a sewing kit I am assembling for the new primary school class at our family's school. I will blog about the whole kit when it is complete.

The other project I couldn't wait to start - the centre dogwood for the Modern Medallion Quilt.

The fabric that I used for the dogwood (part of the Soul Blossoms collection from Amy Butler) is very directional but as I am a girl who likes her symmetry I decided to piece four squares together to create the concentric ring effect, before I did the reverse applique. I'm happy I did because I like the effect that created.

Inspired by chalet girl's quilt, I have decided to use a dark solid for the embroidery back ground. It is looking a little stark right now but I am hoping the embroidery in lighter pearl cotton threads will soften it. And, if I am going to do all that work, I thought I should frame it with those little pink borders. My Mum taught me how to do these - they are cut at an inch wide , folded in half and then inserted into the seams leaving a 1/4 inch folded edge exposed. She feels you can get a better finish doing it this way than trying to add a 1/4 inch border - I am convinced.

I did the reverse applique in a pale pink pearl thread.
I have been collecting my solids for the next round (ie raiding my Mum's stash) and can't wait to get started on the hand embroidery - Satin and Jewels next week.


<![CDATA[I'm Tiramisued]]>Fri, 18 Jan 2013 09:35:06 GMThttp://www.sewtogether.com.au/our-blog/im-tiramisuedWhat a great week of sewing...

I caught up on the Tiramisu sew along and finished my dress. It is so comfortable, I have worn it two days in a row!

Here I am with my trusty assistant just after I got home from work today. He is carrying his much loved "Ninny". This once was a beautiful cream hand knitted rug made by my Mum when he was a tiny baby. Now Ninny is... well...much loved!
I am really happy with the stripey binding that finishes the neck, arms and hem. It adds a nice little detail. This technique made for a very neat hem without any rippling at all.

I am also pretty happy with the fit. It's a great pattern to sew. The fit was pretty good straight up but there was so much room for adjustment as I went and that made it quite fun to play with. I had it on and off so much while I sewed up the bodice I ended up sewing it in my underwear - much to the amusement of my family. Luckily the weather has been hot in Sydney lately!

I love the fact that I can create a muslin that is completely wearable and then adjust my pattern so next time I have the best chance of making a dress with a perfect fit straight up. I don't have nearly as much time for sewing as I would like and sometimes it feels a little disappointment to invest a whole lot of time in a muslin that will never be worn. This pattern solved that problem for me.

It does pull a little through the bodice but I think I am being silly - it's definitely a better fit than any thing I have ever bought myself.
The skirt has a lovely shape too.
I am sure there will be many more Tiramisus.

In the next few days I'll post about the first week of Handstitched - another very exciting project!!


<![CDATA[Should I...Shouldn't I...]]>Fri, 11 Jan 2013 14:02:15 GMThttp://www.sewtogether.com.au/our-blog/should-ishouldnt-iSo you can probably tell from the title of this post, I've been wondering what to do with this blog.
The short answer is I'm not sure.
The slightly longer answer - Well life is busy...no busier than anyone else's but right now I think I'd rather spend my spare time sewing rather than blogging.

I am not sure about Caroline - we haven't discussed it recently, but for now I know she is happy to take a blogging break. Let's wait and see what the future holds.

So the next question is why I am I here??

Well, I have been having fun participating in some sewing activities and thought I would document my progress, really for myself. But if you wanted to check out any of the stuff I have been involved in, please do. I know I am going to learn lots of fantastic stuff and maybe you want to too?

Firstly I am participating in the Tiramisu Sew Along
I feel like Steph (who is the creative genius behind Cake Patterns and the blog Three Hours Past the Edge of the World) is in my living room as I cut and sew, offering me tips and tricks to help me make a perfectly fitted knit dress. This is a really interesting pattern. Steph has thought about sizing in a different but useful way. You determine your bodice size by your high bust measurement. Each front bodice piece then has  sizes A,B,C or D based on your full bust measurement. There are also several check points in the construction where you can try your dress on for size and adjust as needed. It is very nifty indeed! I am running a little behind and wont get to catch up until next week because I am currently in Melbourne on holidays.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get any striped fabric to play around with so settled on some navy knit with striped neck and arm binding. I may even use the same stripes to finish the skirt hem.
I am very excited about the potential of this dress.

I have also enrolled in the Handstiched Course by Rachel of Stitched in Color.
Handstitched Class
Classes start on Monday and I am so excited. I fell in love with Rachel's Modern Medallion quilt when I saw it on her blog. And when I saw this one for real at a Modern Quilt Guild Meeting I knew I had to enrol. I hope to make some of the other projects in this course that covers reverse applique, applique, embroidery, English paper piecing and hand quilting but since I enrolled, all my head space has been directed at the Medallion quilt. I have created a Pinterest Board with my inspiration and fabric selections so far.

And I'll also be watching my post box next week. Rob organised a subscription to a monthly series of embroidery samplers for my Christmas gift. How did he know????

How exciting to have a new embroidery project delivered to my door every month!!!

One thing I have missed about not blogging regularly is taking the time to edit and upload photos of my children. So again this is for me!!!

My gorgeous kids:

and cherry picking in Silvan:
Madeleine in the Christmas dress I made her - a self draft based on a Japanese pattern,
and Will in the great Blank Slate Basic Prepster Pullover and the O+S bucket hat with an extended brim

All this Christmas sewing survived the cherry stains - vinegar was the key to getting them out!!