Sunday Snippets

Playing along with {tinniegirl} today.  A selection of photos from the last week:






cutting sequinned fabric



Followed around; finished work early enough to pop into Super Cheap Fabrics (thanks to Helen‘s enabling); school camp – Dad went too; what happens when you leave Buzz outside for a day; joined in a 31 day Style Challenge (day one: statement necklace); preparing for next Saturday’s Melbourne Frocktails; face painting kindly provided by Bunnings, along with free jumping castle, balloon sculpture, and other fun activities; Father’s Day present still waiting to be sewn.


my budding fabric designers

Remember that I shared some of Clare’s artwork a little while back?  Well, I did get a couple of her designs printed.  And Stella wasn’t about to let me order fabric from Clare’s drawings without having some of hers done too.

fabric by Clare (11 yrs old)

These are Clare’s designs (she is 11 years old). We had fat quarters printed; one on cotton and the other on lawn. Clare really enjoyed playing with the scale of her design as well as the repeat options that were offered. We used Spoonflower for these, by the way. It took around a month from placing the initial order to receiving the fabric here in Australia.

fabric by Stella (6 yrs old)

And these two are Stella’s (she is six years old). Once again I ordered fat quarters, one on cotton and one on jersey. Sadly I didn’t think about which way the repeat runs on the jersey one and as a result the stretch runs vertically rather than horizontally due to it being a one-way design. Live and learn!  Stella also enjoyed the process of determining what scale and what repeats to use, and she had very definite ideas about what she preferred.

So, for some close-ups: Clare’s design, in a small scale repeat on cotton.

fabric by Clare (11 yrs old)

Clare’s other design, in a larger scale on lawn.

fabric by Clare (11 yrs old)

And a closer photo of Stella’s designs.

fabric by Stella (6 yrs old)

I ordered fat quarters of each rather than swatches hoping that I would have pieces of a useable size to incorporate into garments or other projects, and I think that they will work fine. We didn’t do any manipulation of their artwork before uploading them to Spoonflower; they were just hand-drawn with metallic textas, scanned in to the computer and uploaded. As a result there are some imperfections, such as a couple of small smudges in Clare’s, but I think that adds to the hand drawn charm! Clare is keen to get her designs up for sale.

I’m heading off to Sewjourn in a few short hours time.  I have many more projects cut cut out than any person could possibly complete in two days.  If you are interested in watching my sewing progress over the weekend I will be uploading potentially dodgy photos to Instagram (I’m thornberry over there) as I complete each garment.  Have a great weekend everyone – I know that I will!

Me Made May

I’m a little bit late with the blog post, but at the very last minute I decided to join in with Me Made May.


I was really unsure about adding a “challenge” to what is already a busy life.  I mostly wear clothes that I have made, but joining in Me Made May just to do what I usually do isn’t really part of the Me Made May ethos – it’s about challenging yourself to push wearing self made clothing that little bit more.  Upon reflection, I decided on the following pledge:

‘I, Lara of Thornberry, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’14. I endeavour to wear at least one me-made garment each day for the duration of May 2014, including on work days’.

Work days are the ones when I often wear entirely shop bought, especially in winter.  I have a number of warm stretchy merino blend garments from mesop that work beautifully in the office in cold weather.  However, I also have plenty of warm garments that I have made myself hanging in the wardrobe – so this month will be something I’ve made EVERY single day.  Especially because, like Leith, at the end of the month I plan to do a major wardrobe purge, really identifying the things that I love to wear and passing on those that I don’t.  I’ll instagram my daily garments.  A few years ago I took daily “what I wore” photos, and found it really helpful in identifying the workhorses in my wardrobe.  Hopefully this will do the same thing.

last week of term

First term of 2014 is over, and the school holidays are here.  The last week of term flew past, but I took some photos along the way.  So this is a snippet of our week (mostly from a sewing/crafty perspective, of course).

last week of term one

  • Patterns arrived from the last Vogue/Butterick/McCalls sale.  One is already cut out to be sewn this weekend, and another has been matched up to fabric.
  • Personal delivery of The Better Bag Maker, by Nicole Mallalieu, soon to be available online and possibly in Spotlight stores.  I took part in pattern testing (and have a couple of excellent bags to show for it that I can finally reveal on the blog soon) and I think that it really is your go-to book for all things bag-making related.
  • Silk fabrics from the Collette Dinnigan end of bolt clearance currently running at Rathdowne Fabrics.  The top two will be scarves; the bottom one will become a dress.
  • Over the past couple of days the weather has turned cooler and autumn has really settled in.  Time to make new stretchy pants for winter!
  • And with winter coming up, time for some new boots (everything at the Diana Ferrari outlet is currently half price).  I live in boots over winter, and was excited when I spotted some coloured ones!
  • Poor little Stella.  She’s sick.  The virus that has been going around and that Clare and I had last week has caught up with Stella.  She’s still on the couch with a vomit container.
  • I whipped up a few tops for Clare to take away on camp with her.  One includes this raglan tee .  It’s a departure from her usual style, but fortunately she seems to really like it!
  • Clare has been busy with the loom/rainbow/whatever they are called bands.  YouTube has been an excellent source of tutorials for a variety of bracelet designs.  You have to love a craze that is this creative, time-consuming and relatively cheap!
  • A quick dress for Stella, from fabric that she chose in a design that she chose.  And now says that she doesn’t like.


talented tween

When I picked Clare up from after school care on Wednesday she proudly showed me the drawing she had just completed.

Clare's drawing

I reckon that it’s absolutely fantastic! In metallic sharpies, about 20 cm square. I absolutely love it. Some friends suggested that I upload it to Spoonflower and order some fabric. Wouldn’t that be great – a garment made for Clare from fabric that she has designed?

school’s back

School is back.  Stella is in grade one and Clare is in grade six – her last year of primary school.  How could that have possibly happened?  So while the kids were at school today, I took the opportunity to head into the city.  After late breakfast with some other school mums, of course.  Making the most of that precious six hours!

tourist in my city - January 2014

Absolutely the perfect day for visiting some fabric shops, the Edward Steichen & Art Deco Fashion exhibition at NGV, and the All That Glitters exhibition at The Arts Centre. And the train and tram still got me back to school in time for pick up! It was truly restorative for my soul.  I really do love my city.

I am still not certain what the digitally printed polyester crepe from my last post will become – and I love the variety of suggestions that you have made!  There was some very impressive pattern knowledge exhibited in your responses – and interestingly, most of them are patterns that are already in my stash!  I am currently leaning towards a Victory Satsuki top, but I have been known to change my mind.  In the meantime I have some beautiful striped viscose knit on the cutting table waiting to become a draped t-dress, two lengths of linen competing to become Vogue 8552 (before Saturday), and modal knit waiting to become a Cherish dress for my mum…..and I am quite a few blog posts behind on garments that I made during the school holidays.  Ah well!

top 5 reflections, inspirations and goals

Top 5 of 2013 - An Annual Blog Series

I thoroughly suspect that this might be the last “top 5″ post to hit the blogosphere – after all, it is the 10th of January!  I thought that I’d roll reflections, inspirations and goals into one, and be back again later with some plans that are already under way.


I really love sewing,  Really, really love sewing.  I love collecting fabric, trims, patterns, sewing tools, notions and sewing information and then putting them into practice.  My “to-sew” list is always much, much longer than could ever be completed – and I am okay with that.  Everyone has a hobby, don’t they?  Well, sewing is mine, and the fact that it keep me and my children clothed is a bonus.  I do love sewing.

A garment doesn’t work unless you get the right fabric for the pattern.  Sounds obvious really, but getting the perfect combination can sometimes be elusive!

It doesn’t matter how cute a pattern looks on someone else or how much you like the style lines or how much it might suit your body shape.  The big question is – will you wear it?  Will it produce a garment that will actually fit in with your lifestyle?  A garment that you will feel good in?  That will go to the places that you like to go?  That will be comfortable?  Because if it isn’t, the finished garment will possibly only get as far as blog photos, and you’ll never wear it.

When you are a sewist who blogs, it is VERY easy to get sucked into the vortex of sewalongs, the next new pattern, the latest thing that others are making.  For me, this has resulted in the purchase of patterns that I realise I will NEVER actually wear – see the above paragraph.  I can on-sell them or use them to make garments for someone else, but luckily over the past year I have become much better and not getting pulled in by the attraction of “the latest thing”.  Grainline Archer shirt, I’m looking at you!  It’s a great example of this and the point above.  A gorgeous shirt, well drafted, that looks great on many people.  And many would say that everyone needs a button up shirt in their wardrobe.  Um, I’m not part of that everyone.  I just don’t wear them.  All the button up shirts that I have made/bought over the years left my wardrobe a long, long time ago.  Stick to what you know works for you.

That said, when you sew, you can also experiment!  Try out some different styles, colours and patterns.  Try the same pattern in different lengths, or with different details.  And if it doesn’t work out?  Well, it’s not only about the product – it’s definitely about the process as well.  And the time that you have spent on it isn’t a waste – it’s time spent on your hobby, learning new things and enjoying yourself.

I haven’t crocheted as much this year.  I was getting quite a lot of pain in my right neck/arm/shoulder, and have found that slowing down the amount of crochet I was doing has helped it.  But it’s still happening, but more in the background.

Overall I have been very happy with what I’ve made during 2013.  It has pretty much coped with my weight gain, and I’ve done a number of wardrobe culls to make space for new garments.  I am quite happy with what is in there at the moment.  However, that’s not going to stop me from sewing!


I have been lucky enough to get to know a wonderful group of local sewists in real life.  I don’t know what I’d do without them!  So I want to say out loud and proud that you, my Sewjourning friends, are absolutely inspirational to me.  Yes, that is you Karen, Tanya, Megan, Nikki, Jodie, Rachel, Kathryn, Annie,Wendy, Leith, Rachel and Anna.  I love your passion for what you make and your advice, your creativity and your general wonderfulness.


I should SLOW DOWN a little with my sewing.  Take the time to hand-sew down bias neckline binding rather than stitch in the ditch (which I did do last night).  Take the time to do the stay-stitching – when I deem that it could be helpful.  Take the time to try on the garment during the construction process, rather than at the end of it.  I’m not a slap-dash sewist, and will happily unpick things and re-do them in order to get them right, but sometimes things would work out better and the whole process go more smoothly if I slowed down.  Maybe 2014 will be the year of sewing a little more slowly.

Watch those Craftsy classes!  I have realised that this will be easier if I take the old work lap-top up to my sewing room and I watch them in there rather than on the general household computer (located in the middle of the house) that the whole family uses.

Mostly say no.  No to pattern testing, no to sewalongs, no to other blog related commitments.  Except for those that I have thought VERY carefully about, that I’m inspired by and feel passionate about, and would fit into my schedule and not compromise other commitments or my family time.

To sew more mindfully, mostly from stash.  So many people are saying that they are not going to buy any more fabric, patterns, etc.  I’m not going to say that – it would just be setting myself up for failure, and who needs to do that?  But I will shop the stash before I shop elsewhere.  Except for the Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 per metre table.  That is always exempt from any self-imposed fabric shopping bans.

Actually sew some of those items that I have been thinking about and collecting supplies for.  I have patterns, fabric and notions ready to go so there are no reasons not to make a start.  Undies, bras, bathers for me.  And a winter coat!

But that’s it.  My main sewing and blogging goals are to continue to do what I have been doing!  I really enjoy the sewing blogging community, and want to also say a massive thank you to the people who take the time to comment on my blog and to contact me.  I have learned a great deal from all of you, and your support keeps me going at my main hobby too.  Reading blogs and comments on my mobile phone means that it is often difficult for me to comment on other blogs or to respond to comments on mine, and I think that is the case for many people, but I know that we are all there as a group, cheering one another on!

Roll on another wonderful sewing year!