Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Voila: Laurel in White

Yay! Here's my version of Colette's Laurel Pattern, with *almost* bell sleeves!

I finished it while Baby Darling had an awesomely long afternoon nap and in the late late afternoon daylight, just got some photos, but as I had to do them myself (My photographer Husbie is just too occupied with his day job! DAMN), I'm worried you can't see the dress now?! (I bumped the exposure a little in these photos, but my flickr photos I left a little more natural)

Here's a close up:

So it totally does look like a crochet or wooly number that you'd see at the shops and it is very soft and warm! I underlined it with cotton lawn, so it's not scratchy (but the blanket isn't scratchy anyways, just the seams may have been) and used some satin bias tape I had in the stash for the binding around the neck, sleeves and hemline... and it's kept it all in really good shape. Sometimes the fabric moved a lot and I was worried it'd bunch around or hang at odd angles (with the 'lines' of the fabric) but because it's underlined it's all sitting/lying and hanging perfectly! YAY!

I'm SO HAPPY to finish something, but honestly, because I'm breastfeeding, I won't wear it for a while!

And My Mena Facts:

Fabric: second hand Hospital Blanket (gift from my Dad)
Pattern: Colette's Laurel, Version 1
Year: 2013
Notions: Thrifted zipper 10c, bias binding from stash
Time to complete: 7 hours
First worn: April 2013, just for the photos
Wear again? Maybe, when I'm not BF-ing.

Total Cost: 10 cents for the zipper.

Things to note (for next time!):

I used size 6 (post baby body is a bit wider on the bust as I'm still feeding), but size 2 shoulders (for my body adjustments) and shortened the whole pattern piece by 3 inches (or around about) and used size 0's hem line. I'm short, that's my special skill.

Handstitching takes AGES, but is worth it (on the neckline, armholes and hemline) with the bias tape hiding nicely and then ironing flat. Very profess. Probably 3 hours of handstitching all up.

The bell sleeves are *almost* bell shaped, but I forgot to round out the bottom of the sleeve, so they're kind cow bell instead of traditional bell (if you get me?).

Don't eat chocolate while sewing with nice white fabric.

Don't have a dirty iron while sewing with nice white fabric.

Don't sew with nice white fabric next time!

What do you think? Have you ever sewn with a blanket before? I'm eyeing off some vintage blankets for jackets or capes!

Monday, 29 April 2013

Sewing Room Action Plan #2

Another boring Sewing Room update for you guys, but another 'GONNA MAKE IT' achievement for me and my tidying up skillz. It's getting there! PLUS, bonus points to Huzby for attaching my IKEA hangy things and putting all the freaking cords away and up high and preparing our lives for a crawling baby (he's not yet, but will probably do some moving before he leaves home right?). No scissors on benches here!

The floor is CLEAR, but behind those cupboard doors is CHAOS. So it's ok to sew in for NOW, but ideally I'd like to spruce it up everywhere, and clear the clutter.

Jobs left to do:

Clear out NON sewing items
Fold up fabric (in cupboards)
Work out where and what to hang on the walls
Sort through buttons, zippers etc and find good spots for them
Maybe think about a new iron (after a mishap on my white fabric!)
Make spaces for 'To Do' projects, a 'me' space and a 'baby' space etc



Sunday, 28 April 2013

Resting On Your Laurels

Hi there!

I am sewing in my freaking sewing room today! (Photos of the space coming soon!) Yippee! But I wanted to pop up and show you a COOL WEIRD FABRIC choice I found today as I started TWO Laurels! (Colette Patterns' latest pattern, and there's a competition closing in a coupla days - hope I can get my Laurels finished in time!)

What fabric is it? Crochet? Wool?

Doris Day has no idea! It's really big?!

Well, you know how I like refashioning stuff? Finding a new lease of life and form, from one thing to another (la la la!), like how I usually find old bedsheets and tablecloths and make them into skirts and dresses and everything else... well, this my friends, is a freaking boring hospital blanket:

All washed & cleaned well of course, and very run of the mill white... but it kinda has a look of crochet or a wooly ladder effect through it, so I'm trying to be clever and cut it nicely in lovely ways to suit the Laurel pattern.  I thought it'd be an interesting look, especially with the bell sleeves I'm going to add to this version... it might make the winter category for the comp! Who knows!? 

I am SO happy to be sewing again, it's almost like I've won this week anyways! WINNING AT LIFE, right guys?

Happy weekend to you all xoxo

Thursday, 25 April 2013

The Neverending Blanket

It took a year to crochet a massive blanket for our bedroom, but for some reason it's taken 7 months to knit a teeny tiny baby blanket. It's still here and I'm still knitting slowly.

Maybe it's because I watch 1 episode of Project Runway and 1 episode of Girls a week and sit and knit while I watch. So maybe the tv is too enthralling for that 1.5 hours or I'm just so slow!

The boys are off for lunch (it's a holiday here, Anzac Day), so I'm going to watch another Project Runway, eat lunch and knit like the wind (I hope I get to the blue wool eventually!)!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Sewing Room Action Plan #1

We all know I'm trying to kick my sewing mojo into gear around here! I'm slowly plodding through my 100 Things (self imposed challenge!) and I really really really want to sew at least ONE Laurel before we go to the USA!

So, my Action Plan #1 post: REVEAL THE MESS.

Yep, this is my sewing room in it's 'storage mode'. We recently had the house cleaned and painted, and the little sewing room became repurposed. It's an old 'add on' or sunroom so it's long and skinny and has original 60s carpet. (NOT THAT YOU CAN SEE THE CARPET) And there was a lot more shit in here, but it all got put back after the painters left, so this is actually LESS CLUTTERED than before.

Yep. A Mess! You can't even see my dress forms - yes Joanie is up the back there, you can just see her black 'head' sticking up there behind Diana. Yes the girls are LONELY and sad.


So lonely. Sometimes I just go in and turn the straight stitch machine on (the light is then left on for days) before I realise that I have no time for sewing (and no space) so leave. (I did make Baby Darling's blanket in this mess, so cruel!).

But, to reveal the mess means I have to take action and clean it up. We have a couple of 'storage solutions' for the sewing stuff, and also Husbie's computer will go back to his office and mine will be here (it's smaller), but we'll also change the tables around, so here's hoping there's room and it'll all fit and be gorgeous soon.


Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Mama Lyf: Baby Wearing

My Mama Lyf has been an eye opener... some people say 'It's a whole new world, isn't it?' after you have a baby. For me it's the same world, yet shinier and happier... and more emotional (hello hormones!) and realer... like real life is daunting and sad... but having a baby gives me a different perspective on our own world. Especially the surprise in knowing more about the world that usually would pass you by. Like going to the council office for the baby's immunisations; and how many free things are around for children or Mamas! Changing/Parent rooms in shopping centres. And shopping centres! I never really hung out in places that much during the day, I guess.

One eye opener, has been the many options you can care & love your baby... and so many instincts & experiences that come along at the right time. We delayed getting our pram; I didn't know what my baby would 'feel' like or what a baby would need and how my life would change from having a baby. I'd like to be mobile, of course, and include the baby in it. But I didn't know what kind of pram was suitable until I met the baby. And then on one of our first pram outings (I think he was around 8 weeks) I met my friend who introduced me to wraps and wearing your child.

We were given a few slings and a Baby Bjorn, which my Husbie wore perfectly... but as my baby grew, I just couldn't fit it. Or it didn't fit me! So much structure and fabric and buckles for my little body! But the world of woven wraps just sat right (and fitted to me & Baby Darling perfectly!) and so I became an obsessed wrapper!

I am obsessed in that I have 2 wraps (different colours, and different lengths), but that's just 'dipping your toes in' really... as you can get addicted to all the fabric & lengths etc... and so many tying options (and so many youtube tutorials! Search woven wrap and you'll find a bunch!). I'll never be able to give all the explanation about woven wraps, and luckily my friend shared this blog with me - and yes, with this post aptly titled The Weird & Wonderful World of Woven Wraps!

Baby Darling is a bit of a sticky beak, and has to check out everything... so sometimes wearing him in the wrap is the best way for both of us. He can have a snooze as well while we're out and about. Sometimes if we're driving somewhere, I've transferred him from the car to the wrap and he has kept sleeping! I just love having options for Baby Darling to fit into my life, and I don't always need to get the pram out of the car for a quick trip to the post office or the market... we've even walked to the cafe together (with comfy shoes of course!)!

There's probably so many great things like Baby Wearing that will continue to surprise me, making life more fun & easier! I love exploring the world through my baby's perspective!

(And Doris Day loves Baby Darling's perspective as well... she gets all the cuddles!)


Thursday, 11 April 2013

Awesome Adventure Blanket Toy

I think this is a much more interesting blog title for us grown ups, because in reality this toy is BORING. But for babies, it's potentially the cutest and loveliest and funnest thing ever. Maybe even the funniest!

My baby is 6 months old now, and tends to get bored of toys so I'm forever swapping things around so he never gets used to anything for too long and learns about stuff (which is why I guess we have toys?) in different ways and over different days. SO! I had a spare 15 minutes while he was outside cooing and being a great baby, and as we were off to the hairdressers (which is a great place for babies - how much do they LOVE the blowdryers!?) and thought I'd make him a play toy from ribbons and leftover scraps.

It wasn't hard at all to make (as you can see it's pretty straight forward) but Baby Darling played with the tabs and ribbons and spaghetti straps one by one... it looks to me that babies adore tags and little things they can touch, get their fingers into and flip around. One of the mums in my Mama's Group showed me a shop bought blanket, so that's where I got the idea from... as when you're a kooky old seamstress who doesn't throw anything out, I've just gotta grab the time to make a million of these.

And of course, I can't find it anywhere now, so I've either cleaned it up with the 'out of rotation' toys already or it's been eaten by the dog. Oh my darling but naughty dog.

Love to you guys!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

When I Was Just A Little Girl

I sing a lot to Baby Darling, and Doris Day is always in my head. I sing Que Sera Sera as he's going to sleep sometimes, really low and boring and slow and he drifts off. What a sweetie! I wonder how much he'll remember from when he is this little? It's a good saying to come back to really; whatever will be, will be. For who knows what will happen in his little sweet life?

Thanks for your USA ideas! I KNEW you'd have some good stopover spots, and yes if you're around that way, let me know... if we have time we can always have a vintage shop or a sewing chat! We'll be in California until May 20 and then onto NYC until June. Hooray! But please, keep the ideas going, I'm going to book accom this weekend!

AND, I know you're all DYING to know how disqus (still can't decide how to pronounce it!) is going in the comments, and it's amazing and working and needed a bit of time to import all the comments. I hope you don't mind using that as a comments system because it's really easy for me to write back to you and also I love commenting via disqus on other blogs... now that I'm using bloglovin' a lot more.

Please don't imagine me in my 50s dresses swanning around the house, singing Doris Day, having a perfectly sleepy baby with my red roses (The photo is from February earlier this year from my Husbie's photo collection, however aren't they beautiful?) as right now Baby Darling is talking at the top of his talking voice to the front loader washing machine as it's on the spin setting, while I drink a cup of tea and write to you from my kinda clean sewing room. I came to the computer to order some online/home delivered groceries, but realised as I paid for them they were being delivered next Thursday and not tomorrow, so I'll have to go shopping after all. And I'm not really a Susie Homemaker/Doris Day Perfection babe at heart, just a babe. Did I mention my child is in love with the washing machine right now? Learning about the world. Transfixed by the washing.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013


Some Red, White & Blue for you! Because: The Darling Family are going on HOLIDAY! VAY-CAY! We are going to the USA!

I'm so excited, and I cannot actually believe it! We booked flights in January, along with some NYC accom via airbnb (We're Brooklyn locals for 2 weeks!) and as it's been so busy with baby and livin' MamaLyf, I've kinda forgotten about it all, and can't believe but this time next month we'll be in LA.


We have a sweet reason on going, my Husbie was born in San Diego, but left for his homeland New Zealand when he turned 1. As Baby Darling is still little, it's more of a nostalgic & romantic holiday for us adults, but the little boy will be able to appreciate the photos & our stories as he grows up. We have a little left of the trip to plan, so I thought (since some of you guys know America *really* well) I'd ask: Where is the best stopover/sights along the drive from San Francisco to San Diego?

Our friends have shared a few ideas (Big Sur & the Madonna Inn) already (and a 3 day little minibreak in San Francisco to begin with), but would love some more family friendly and vintage or mid century dreamy spots to visit! Any recommendations or fun places you just love in California?

Monday, 8 April 2013

Beginner's Luck!

Have you seen Tilly has been blogging a wrap skirt sewalong? It's one of her own sewing patterns called 'Miette', which makes me think of the darling girl in 'City of Lost Children'. (BTW, when did all these amazingly talented people start making sewing patterns? So many more indie patterns to get & covet!).

But what made me crush on Tilly with this pattern is that the FIRST thing I ever did sew, was a 1970s sewing pattern of my mother's... a WRAP SKIRT. So I got a little nostalgic seeing Tilly's version, especially that it includes these dearheart pockets! Get along to her page because my photos are just photos of the computer screen, and they look more darling in real life (via YOUR computer screen).

And I encourage all you lurkers & non (but potential) seamstresses out there, to try sewing and why not try with Tilly's pattern? If you're super thrifty like me, just buy Tilly's pattern... and go to the op shop (or the linen cupboard) and find a bedsheet to just MAKE and TRY it out. No harm done (or money lost) with using a fabric you may not need as a bedsheet anymore... my biggest fear of sewing was using 'good' fabric and wasting money. I *hate* wasting money, and using op shop/thrifted gear to start sewing is the BEST.

So try your beginner's luck with this one!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Techie Time: Disqus

I'm stuck! (Photo from my Husbie's iphone from a few years ago when the floods came to Melbourne CBD!)

Acting a bit too quick for my techie brain, I loaded DISQUS to my blogger blog and the widget seems to work but the importing all my/your old comments haven't worked?

I perhaps should have researched it a bit more, but acted quickly because I noticed while using Bloglovin reader in Chrome, I leave comments on Disqus comments quicker than Blogger ones (without losing your spot - or whatever in the freaking bloglovin thingie - SO BAD AT EXPLAINING THIS)... anyways, I thought if I preferred commenting via Disqus, as it was quicker, then maybe you'd like to too, and I quickly made the change and now I'm STUCK!

I'll ask for 'help' on the Disqus page, but for now I have a page (after I click 'import/sync comments') that says 'Sorry an Error occurred at our end'... so sorry if it's tricky to comment or whatever, and I'll get back to you soon (once I get the comments back). URGH.

And you know what else? Because of the internet I don't know how to pronounce Disqus. Is it like discuss or discus that you throw? Or Dis-kwee to sound French? I know it's not important really, but I get stuck on this too (I love correct pronunciation, and the internets makes it tricky!).

Love to you and hope you enjoyed your Easter Break if you got one/celebrated it! We ate chocolate and saw comedy and took Baby Darling to the zoo! LOLZ!


Dongmen Lu Fabric Market

Happy Wednesday! Time to get some fabric inspiration from the Dongmen Lu Fabric Market here in Shanghai! Can't believe how quickly 201...