Style Arc Mickie Cape and yet another Plantain tee

Oh Mickie, you’re so fine…

Style Arc Mickie Cape in mix of woven and knit scraps

mickie-cape

From the Style Arc website: MICKIE CAPE: Must have cape for the season, this ultimate layering piece is so easy to wear and sew. Mix and match using textured fabrics, this cape has optional inseam pockets.

Yes, if you’ve looked at that line drawing, this cape is a series of rectangles sewn together, with the centre seam left open for half it’s distance.

Style Arc Mickie Cape in mix of woven and knit scraps

So Lara, I hear you say, why did you need a PATTERN for that? My answer? A couple of reasons. One, laziness. Two, someone else has figured out the proportions for me – how wide and long each rectangle should be, and where the inseam pockets should sit. I like it when someone else figures out the proportions. And I do like the little inseam pockets.

Style Arc Mickie Cape in mix of woven and knit scraps

This version of the Mickie cape was a sewn-from-scraps make. The centre panels are a textured woven, left over from a skirt sewn ages ago. The side panels are a wool blend knit. So the fabrics don’t really work perfectly together, but the colours do. And it was scrap busting!

Style Arc Mickie Cape in mix of woven and knit scraps

I wish that I had clearer photos, but just have to go with what I could get. I sewed the size 12 – I assume that the pattern pieces vary in width and length slightly depending on the grading. This is a super simple sew. If you wanted to make it even simpler you could eliminate the in seam pockets and overlap the side panel pieces onto the centre pieces. You could sew it up in well less than an hour.

Style Arc Mickie Cape in mix of woven and knit scraps

I need to point out that the cape is closed for a short space at the sides to create “armholes” and help to keep it on you. I found it was actually quite secure. These are sewn last in the process, so you can make the arm opening as deep as you like. I wore my Mickie Cape over a Deer and Doe Plantain tee that I sewed at Sewjourn in May.

Deer and Doe Plantain tee in wool blend knit from Clear It

I sewed this in a wool blend knit from Clear It – it’s very warm and snuggly. My version of the Plantain tee pattern is blended across sizes, larger at the waist and a bit smaller at the hips. I like that it doesn’t cling to my gut, although this one looks to be pulling a fraction across the bust.

Deer and Doe Plantain tee in wool blend knit from Clear It

I am very happy with the way that the back fits. Hooray! Because I had some fabric scraps that I didn’t want to go to waste, I also sewed a simple tubular cowl. It adds warmth to that relatively open neckline. I don’t like high necklines, but am very happy to wrap a scarf or cowl around my neck!

Deer and Doe Plantain tee in wool blend knit from Clear It

Both of these are terrific simple patterns. The pants are Style Arc Elle pants sewn forever ago.

Style Arc Mickie Cape in mix of woven and knit scraps

Style Arc Charlie and Tessuti Megan

Hello everyone!  It’s a week since we returned from Cairns.  The past couple of days have been incredibly cold in Melbourne, so I’ve been remembering our holiday extremely fondly.  Anyway, we’re back to all of the usual – back to school, back to work, so hopefully back to blogging!  I still have that backload of garments to blog.

Style Arc Charlie stretch woven skirt in coated leather look bengaline

I think that I jumped on the Style Arc Charlie skirt and leather look bengaline bundle the second that it was released.

charlie-skirt

From their website: CHARLIE STRETCH WOVEN SKIRT: Charlie has all the details of a traditional slim line jean skirt with the exception that its pulls on. This elastic waisted skirt has the latest styling and shape along with comfort as it sits on the natural waist.

Style Arc Charlie stretch woven skirt in coated leather look bengaline

Style Arc Charlie stretch woven skirt in coated leather look bengaline

This skirt was sewn entirely on the sewing machine. All that topstitching was strangely enjoyable and satisfying. I used the edge of my presser foot as a guide to keep the rows parallel, and am very happy with the end result.

Style Arc Charlie skirt

I used double sided fusible tape to hold the back pockets in place before stitching them on. I find that this works much better than pins for these types of pockets.

Style Arc Charlie skirt

The instructions have the side seams sewn last. This means that at the waistband, the seams go right up to the edge, rather than being enclosed in any way by the top of the skirt. I tried to figure out an alternate method of construction that would somehow keep the side seams fully enclosed at the top, but couldn’t come up with anything. The front waistband is a separate “yoke”, whereas the back yoke is self-faced at waistband level and contains elastic for fitting. It doesn’t really matter, as I made certain to match things up perfectly at the waist edge, but it made me use a few brain cells.

Style Arc Charlie stretch woven skirt in coated leather look bengaline

I am trying to remember if I made any alterations to the pattern before cutting – I probably shortened it a little bit. Otherwise, I sewed it as is. That stretch bengaline is extremely forgiving fit-wise although it does show every roll of my stomach as it does so.

Tessuti Megan Longline Cardi in wool knit from the Fabric Store

I wore it with a Style Arc Maddison top (blogged here) and a Tessuti Megan cardigan. I’ve made this pattern before, and sewed it again without any changes. Most construction was on the overlocker, with just hems twin needled on the sewing machine.

Tessuti Megan Longline Cardi in wool knit from the Fabric Store

The Megan is a lovely longline cardigan pattern, with that nice element of swing at the bottom while fitting more closely at the shoulders and upper chest. From the Tessuti website: Megan Longline Cardigan – This longline flared cardigan features full length sleeves, a centre front and neckline bind and flared side seams with an asymmetrical hemline. The simple style looks fabulous worn over sleeveless tops, pants or dresses and is a wonderful wardrobe staple. Ideal for soft jersey knits such as viscose/elastane and wool jersey.  The fabric I used is a merino knit that is brushed on the inside – incredibly warm to wear. I bought it from The Fabric Store at quite a discounted price – maybe that vibrant shade of green wasn’t for everyone?

Tessuti Megan Longline Cardi in wool knit from the Fabric Store

Anyway, I’m very happy with both my “leather” skirt and my kermit cardigan. I feel that I’ve sewn some great items this winter. More successes than losses – and the wardrobe is groaning again as a result.

Tessuti Megan Longline Cardi in wool knit from the Fabric Store

Cairns – day 6

There is one (and only one) upside of having our holiday flight home delayed by more than an hour and a half – it gives me the chance to write a blog post about the previous day!  Yesterday was Skyrail and Kuranda day.

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We were originally hoping to catch the train up to Kuranda and just do the return trip via Skyrail, but a cruise ship was in town and the train was fully booked. So it was Skyrail both ways!

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

The cableway has a couple of stops on the way. There are boardwalks that take you through the rainforest, spectacular views, and interpretative centres. I think that the girls’ favourite part was the cable car taking off each time – whoosh!

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

After arriving in Kuranda, we briskly walked past the markets and headed to wildlife attractions. First stop was the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary.  I’ve been to Kuranda and to the Butterfly Sanctuary many times over the years, but I do have to say that this is still an excellent attraction.  It’s not huge, although it has been expanded to include a visit to where the butterfly eggs and caterpillars are raised, and the guided tour is excellent.  Our guide was Juliette, and she really went over and above to answer our questions and give us as much information as possible.  We had a brilliant time.  The butterflies were especially attracted to Stella’s hat – her highlight of the day was having butterflies land on her.

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

From here we went to Kuranda Koala Gardens. This was another smaller attraction, with plenty of Australian animals to see. But the biggest drawcard here was the opportunity to hold a koala. Clare had the honours (they are rather heavy) and Stella was able to cuddle. The koala was called Hazel – a young female.

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Just next door was Birdworld Kuranda, a large sanctuary of free flying birds. The girls had fun trying to identify each bird. They did a pretty good job of it! I just enjoyed the colours. Oh, that plumage!

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Then it was time to head back and take in the glorious views along the way. The weather here has been absolutely perfect.  A truly excellent holiday.

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns 2016 day 6 Kuranda

Cairns – day 5

I’ve mentioned already that my brother runs a fishing charter business.  As well as the game fishing boat, he has a smaller 4.7m boat that he uses for barra fishing.  Yesterday he drove us down to where the Russell River flows into the sea, half way between Cairns and Innisfail.  Then we all jumped onto the boat and headed out to the Frankland Islands to enjoy some sand, sunshine and snorkeling.  We spotted a school of fish along the way, had lunch on Normanby Island, and generally had a ball.  The weather was absolutely perfect.  In this case, the photos pretty much tell the story.

Cairns 2016 day 5 on the water

Cairns 2016 day 5 on the water

Cairns 2016 day 5 on the water

Cairns 2016 day 5 on the water

Cairns 2016 day 5 on the water

Cairns 2016 day 5 on the water

Cairns 2016 day 5 on the water

Cairns 2016 day 5 out in the boat

Cairns 2016 day 5 out in the boat

Cairns 2016 day 5 on the water

Cairns 2016 day 5 on the water

Cairns 2016 day 5 out in the boat

Cairns 2016 day 5 on the water

Cairns 2016 day 5 out in the boat

Cairns 2016 day 5 on the water

Cairns 2016 day 5 on the water

Cairns 2016 day 5 on the water

Cairns 2016 day 5 on the water

Cairns 2016 day 5 out in the boat

Cairns 2016 day 5 on the water

Cairns 2016 day 5 on the water

Cairns 2016 day 5 on the water

Cairns 2016 day 5 on the water

Cairns 2016 day 5 on the water

Cairns – day 3

After a slow start to the day, filled with coffee and sleeping in and catching up on news, we headed to Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures.  So you know what this blog post will be full of, don’t you – photos of crocodiles!

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

Hartley’s is a little over half an hour drive north of Cairns, along the beautiful Captain Cook Highway once again.  My brother was driving this time, so I was really able to take in those lovely views.  And have I mentioned the weather up here yet?  It’s just lovely – perfect weather for living, really.  Summer clothes during the day but not terribly hot, yet hot enough to swim (or get sunburnt).  Summer pyjamas for night time with a sheet and one light blanket.  At the most.  The breeze is lovely, the air is full of noises from birds and insects, and overall it’s delightful.  Last night I listened to the sound of curlews in chorus.  It’s so distinctive!  Unfortunately for some reason the neighbours think that it’s a good idea to have turkeys and geese as pets in a residential neighbourhood, so I’ve been listening to the honking of the geese in the middle of the night too.  Not as lovely as the curlews.

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

So, to Hartley’s!  Anyone who has been up to FNQ on holiday knows that the cost of attractions and activities really adds up, especially for a family.  Hartley’s is an attraction that I think is excellent value (and your entry price includes return visits for three days).  It’s a working crocodile farm, that raises saltwater crocodiles mostly for their skins but also for their meat.  We took a short tour of the farming area and saw where the crocodiles are grown.  They’re “harvested” at about 3 years of age.  Wild crocodiles are a protected species.  I’ve found a couple of articles on crocodile farming here, here, here and here (that one from Choose Cruelty Free).  They all provide interesting perspectives on crocodile farming.

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

From the farm tour we moved to a snake show.  Christy gave an extremely informative talk about venomous land snakes and non-venomous land snakes, showing us a couple of examples of each.  After some encouragement both Clare and Stella made the decision to touch the carpet python.  Stella described it as dry and bumpy.  She was pretty pleased with herself!

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

The next event was probably the highlight of our visit.  Christy was joined by another staff member, Matt, and they proceeded to give us an extremely interesting and entertaining talk and demonstration about crocodiles and their habits.

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

Crocodiles freak me out.  Those living dinosaurs – they really are such a brilliant example of natural selection and adaptation for their environment.  They are incredibly strong and powerful, and move extremely quickly in the water!  Packed with muscle and strength, they are very successful opportunistic hunters.  There are croc warning signs in FNQ for a reason – they can and do kill people as well as whatever animals stray into their path.  Just watching Matt in the enclosure with Hagrid the crocodile make me feel extremely nervous.

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

From the croc show we moved on to the boat trip on the lagoon.  At the moment the lagoon is covered in brilliant green duckweed.  There are 25 crocodiles in this area, and we saw a number of them from the boat.  Once again we had a terrific tour leader who answered questions and pointed out other things of interest, such as the bird life in the area.

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

Cassowaries were up next.  They’re yet another dangerous Australian creature!  After listening to a talk about the birds the girls were able to hand feed one through a fence.  The coloured wattles of the cassowaries are quite spectacular.  But those feet have sharp spurs and they are known to be highly territorial and often aggressive.

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

Finally, it was koala feeding time!  There were three koalas munching vigorously on eucalyptus leaves.  Once again we were treated to a highly informative talk and question and answer session about them, following by the opportunity to give them a pat.  Yes, they are as soft as they look – but like many Australian mammals, they also have sharp claws and teeth so it’s always a good idea to remain wary!

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

I’ve visited Hartley’s a few times over the years now, but it’s always great to experience these attractions through the fresh eyes of my daughters.

Cairns 2016 day 3 Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

Cairns – day 2

Yesterday was Daintree Day.

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

We jumped in the car after breakfast and headed north up the Captain Cook Highway.  This road connects Cairns to Mossman, taking you past spectacular scenery where the forest and beaches meet, then through the sugar cane fields.  And it was all happening at Mossman – not only was it the monthly Saturday market yesterday, but there was another rather significant Australian event taking place.

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

What a pretty polling place – but it was a good thing that I had cast my pre-poll vote back home, considering how busy it was there. As I type this the results of our election are still uncertain….but I’ll keep politics off the blog. I rather love the sugar cane fields – seeing trucks loaded with cane taking them to the sugar cane trains, which once they are long enough head off through the fields to their next stop – presumably to be processed. Many years ago I did a tour through a cane processing plant. I love factory tours and finding out how things are made. I wonder if there are still similar ones taking place? Anyway, our first stop was by the Daintree River, where we took a cruise through the mangroves to see if we could find any crocodiles.

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

Our tour with Daintree River Cruises was excellent. I find mangroves fascinating, and our guide really knew his stuff. We didn’t have any luck in finding large crocodiles, as the air temperature and water temperature were probably about the same at that stage so they weren’t on the banks sunning themselves. But we did manage to locate a teensy hatchling sitting on a log.

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

See him there?

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

We also spotted a beautiful Brahminy kite – a bird of prey with a stunning chestnut body with white tipped wings.  Incredible to watch it soaring overhead.  After our boat tour we joined the queue to catch the vehicle ferry across the Daintree River.

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

We were headed into cassowary territory. Our destination here was the Daintree Discovery Centre. Here there were boardwalks with audio tours for the whole family. It was an excellent way to learn more about the rainforest flora and fauna, as well as the history of the area.

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

On our way back to Cairns we stopped off to admire the beaches and the views.

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

Cairns 2016 day 2 Daintree

Pizza for dinner with a glass of wine, Pitch Perfect 2 on DVD, and just a little bit of watching the election count finished off a wonderful day.