fabric stash

Jungle January swap

Well, it’s been quite a week.  Stella went back to school – grade 2 for her – and Clare started high school.  She was SO excited about it; no nerves at all from her, just anticipation of what the next stage might bring.  But I have to admit that I cried more than once as I took her to school for day one – but I did make sure not to cry in front of her!  I wanted her to just keep on feeling great about it and not worry about my tears.  It is a big step for all of us.  I imagine that the next year will be a massive learning curve for her and for us as her parents.  She’s incredibly well prepared and so ready for it, and I think that we are too.  But it is very emotional for me!  We are all very proud of her.  I’m also emotional about Stella moving in to grade 2 and being at primary school without her big sister being there to fall back on.  I am sure that it will be a great thing for her and give her the opportunity to grow and develop purely as herself, not in relation to her sister.  There will be lots of changes there too.  Phew!

You may be aware that Jungle January has been on this month, and that there was a fabric swap organised as part of it.  I was lucky enough to be paired up with Liz of He Cooks, She Sews! and she sent me this wonderful little package.

Jungle January package from Liz to me

That jersey is definitely going to become a wrap dress, most probably this one. This print is right up my alley! The two patterns were a lovely little extra. Clare spent a bit of time with the croquis included in Simplicity 2983 working out what styles she’d like me to sew for her, and came up with these two.

2015-01-26 09.26.17

2015-01-26 09.51.48

You can see the fabric and other bits and pieces that I sent to Liz over here. (Unsurprisingly, I bought some of the fabric for myself too.) Liz said some very complimentary things in her blog post about how much I get done.  I do sew a lot.  There is no denying that.  It sometimes amazes me too that I can get so much done.  But there are few reasons behind why I can be so productive.  Yes, I currently do work full-time – but my husband is currently at home full-time, so I’m not doing the cooking/shopping/cleaning at the moment, which means my “free” time is more available.  I am able to sew in snatches of time, because I have a fully set up sewing room that even has a couch and TV in it.  So while Stella is in the shower?  I can sew.  While I’m chatting to Clare?  I can sew.  While watching TV?  I can sew.  I’ve been sewing all my life, so I’m pretty quick.  And I sew simple things.  Not because I can’t sew more complex things (I have done in the past, still do on occasion, and probably will in the future) because those styles and silhouettes are what I prefer to wear.  And yeah, I’m obsessed.  But I’m not wonder woman, I promise you!

I was hoping to get another item or two finished before Jungle January was over, but time flew away from me and it’s unlikely to happen (unless I stay up sewing very, very late tonight and count on the time difference between Australia and the US to help me sneak another garment in). But don’t you worry, the Jungle love will continue throughout the year in some way or another!

Fabric shopping in Chiang Mai – what I bought

I have two blog posts to write about what we got up to yesterday (Friday) in Chiang Mai, but I won’t have a chance to get to them until tonight.  So to put the eager sewists out of their misery, I’ll show you the fabrics that I bought.


These are all woven locally, although by machine, not by hand. They are all cottons. The one with the squares is a double gauze. I bought three metres of each.


These came from the same shop. Once again, they are all cottons, woven locally. The spot is for a dress for Clare, and the check is for shorts for Dan. Three metres of each!


The stripe is linen, and is destined for a top for Clare and possibly something else. The navy cotton has a textured self-stripe and a woven border. The green and white is cotton voile. The linen was around A$7 per metre, the navy just over A$1, and the voile less than a dollar. Three metres of each! Do you see a theme here? These were all purchased in the market.


Also from the market, something a little bit fancy! Embroidered cottons in yellow/white for Clare and pink for Stella, and a heavy cotton blue and cream lace for me. One and a half metres of each. Not super cheap, but about a third of what they would cost in Australia.


And last but certainly a very long way from least, beautiful handwoven cotton mudmee fabric from Lampang, a gift from Gaye. I was so thrilled to receive this – such a perfect souvenir from Thailand! Gaye also sells this fabric in her etsy shop – I strongly suspect that I will be purchasing more at some stage.

So there you go – what I bought! It’s all been distributed between our suitcases, hoping to not tip over the weight limit too much. We are about to head to the airport to catch our flight to Khao Lak via Phuket, and are very sad to leave both BaanBooLOo and Chiang Mai. I have a strong suspicion that we will be back one day….

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!

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.


some fabric love

It’s rather ironic really – our accountant/financial advisor is located in the same street as Darn Cheap Fabrics.  So I am sometimes forced to drop in and check out the fabrics when we are also checking out our finances.  I thought you’d like to see some of my recent purchases.

embroidered cotton and silk/cotton from DCF

As soon as I clapped my eyes on this embroidered cotton I knew it would be coming home with me. I bought the last on the bolt, but have noticed that it is still for sale in their online shop. It is fairly narrow, and each selvedge has a fancy shaped and embroidered edge. I found some silk/cotton to line it with. The most difficult question now is whether it will be used for something for me or something for one of my girls. I think that Clare has her eye on it.

embroidered cotton from DCF

There was also this border embroidered cotton that absolutely had to come home with me. At this stage it will make a dress for Stella, possibly the Oliver + S Croquet dress. We’ll see!

sequinned fabric from DCF - reduced as imperfect

These stretch sequins came home with me to practice on and play with, since it is an imperfect piece and was dramatically reduced. I have seen so many beautiful sequinned fabrics lately, and since attending the Miss Fisher’s Costume exhibition a few weeks ago visions of simple shapes in luxurious fabrics have been swimming through my mind. I wonder how well they would drape and swish on a short plump woman?

printed cotton - from DCF $2 per metre table

And of course, the $2 per metre table did strike again. The printed silver dots on fine white cotton, and some slinky polyester that I am planning to use for lining a sheer polyester dress.

from DCF $2 per metre table

Although I do prefer natural fibres, in my opinion good quality polyester does have a place – and I am not lining a polyester dress with silk/cotton! So there you go, my latest acquisitions. So, does the coral/cream embroidered cotton go to Clare or to me? And what you would recommend it becomes for either of us?

Darn Cheap Fabrics haul October 15 2013/p>

so, what does this become?

More of the scuba knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics.  Amazing large-scale, very colourful digital print.  On stretchy, spongy poly/spandex.  I have 2.5 metres of it.

Darn Cheap Fabrics poly/spandex scuba knit

This photo is across the entire width of the fabric (top to bottom in the photo) – it is a very full-on print! So, what do I make? If I were a foot taller and 10kg slimmer I’d make a body-conscious dress. As it is, I’m considering another pair of Elle pants with a coordinating jacket (maybe another Marni jacket, or a Nina cardigan – but it runs the risk of showing the white reverse side). Suggestions are highly welcomed!  Think about my short, apple shape – what would you suggest in this fabric?