Archive for the ‘sewing clothes’ Category

I made an article of clothing from a pattern and it fits!

As soon as Gorgeous Girl saw it she put it on and then grabbed dolly with the matching dress (same pattern, not the same fabric).


She likes it.


I managed to do french seams on the sides.


I’m quite impressed with myself about that.

Gorgeous Girl found some lace in the stash when we were selecting fabric and insisted that it be added. Thanks to my friend Google I worked out how to add lace to a hem without too much trauma.

lace hem

While the machine was out I made a pillowcase for a friend of Gorgeous Girl’s who is having a birthday soon.


Gorgeous Girl insisted on giving it a test run.


Funny kid. It’s now all wrapped up and ready to be gifted. I hope the recipient likes it. I’m always worried about giving handmade gifts to other people’s children because I know not all families value handmade as much as ours (and our extended family) does.

Gorgeous Man and Gorgeous Girl went out to one of the National Parks recently. Here is Gorgeous Girl relaxing after a 2 kilometre walk and a leech bite.

Araminta in Varirata

Gorgeous Man really does take the most beautiful photos of Gorgeous Girl. This really captures her. She wasn’t too fazed by the leech bite. She told me that she “wasn’t happy” because she got bitten by a leech, but it was OK because Daddy had picked it off.


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I finished the dress for Gorgeous Girl’s doll. I’m pleased with how it turned out. This doll belonged to me as a child but she lives with Gorgeous Girl now.

doll dress1

The pattern is a free one from from Oliver + S. I am a sewing pattern novice and this was easy to follow. I’d pay money for some of their other patterns it was so well written.

I think Gorgeous Girl is happy with the dress.

doll dress2

Dress, sewn by me, fabrics chosen by Gorgeous Girl.

(As an aside, you can see the neighbour’s house in the background of the photo. Ours is identical.  We park our car underneath).

While hunting through the stash to find the fabric for Gorgeous Girl’s dress I came across a few test blocks from a quilt I decided not to go ahead with (test blocks revealed some serious flaws in the pattern instructions). I decided to whip them together quickly and make a coaster for Gorgeous Girl to keep on the coffee table. Not my best work, but out of the stash and put to use…

quick coaster

This is my picture. Not content with that, Gorgeous Girl asked for the camera so she could style the shot.


Her dress is in progress, but I’ve learned not to sew when tired, so instead of finishing it off tonight I’m going to crash on the couch with some knitting for about 20 minutes and then head to bed. Hopefully I’ll be able to sneak a few minutes at the machine tomorrow.


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When I lived in South Africa I belonged to a number of yarn and fibre clubs run by the fabulous Carle at Nurturing Fibres.   Last year I used one of the yarn clubs to make this shawlette.

22.5 degrees1

Each yarn club came with the main ball of yarn and then a small ball of luxury yarn dyed in the same colourway. I needed to break into my luxury yarn to finish this off and I had a tiny ball left over. I didn’t want to just throw it out, but there really wasn’t enough to do much with. Anyway, a few minutes with my crochet hook and I had made this.

crochet flower bookmark

A new bookmark, and there was only one inch of yarn left at the end.

Recently I decided that it might be time to cut into the fabric that I bought to make Gorgeous Girl a dress with far too many a few years ago. This free pattern,  the popover sundress by Oliver+S caught my eye.

I decided to make the doll sized dress first to make sure I understood all the instructions in the pattern before cutting into the good stuff. (Also Gorgeous Girl is unwell and is not willing to stand still for measurements etc). Gorgeous Girl picked two fabrics from her fabric stash. I enlarged the pattern. Her vintage doll (used to be mine) is the same length as the doll the dress is designed for, but is a little bit wider.

Several hours later I have a half finished dress.


I think Gorgeous Girl has put really nice fabrics together. The sense of accomplishment I felt when I realised I had successfully added the bias strip to the sleeve was ridiculous.


You have to remember that the last time I made a garment from a pattern was 22 years ago and I did it with lots of help from a friend’s mother. You are also reading the blog of a woman who failed sewing in Year 8 (back in the days when F’s still appeared on report cards) and only managed to scrape a C- in Year 10 (the last time I took the subject…)

Gorgeous Girl is on holidays at the moment, and she’s got a nasty chest infection. So the school hours when I usually work on my thesis are otherwise occupied at the moment. This means I need to start using my evening crafting time as writing time instead. So I don’t expect to see this finished until next weekend.

It’s currently sitting on the ironing board and I pat it every time I go past.


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When we were in Australia at Christmas time last year I called into Spotlight to pick up some rotary cutter blades and a few other notions. I had no intention of buying any fabric. However, as I was heading to checkout I spotted some fabric that had been pre-shirred and I figured it would be perfect to make Gorgeous Girl a dress.

I bought two kinds of fabric. This is the first lot to be sewn up.

Not too shabby for winging it without any instructions 🙂

The best shot I could get of it on Gorgeous Girl.

Don’t you just love the circa 1970s faux wood panelling on the walls? 🙂 In the background of the photo you can see my old sewing machine set up for Gorgeous Girl. She has been working on her quilt this morning.

Because I don’t waste anything, the left-overs from the dress have already been cut down into scraps.

Some strips for my leaders and enders strip quilt, a 4.5 inch and 3.5 inch square, some 1.5 inch squares, some 1 inch squares and a 1 inch strip for the strip quilt.

Crafting in the tropics has some unique challenges. We have terrible humidity here. My rotary cutter lives inside a sealed zip-lock bag but even so, this is what it looked like when I pulled it out this morning.

Yes, that is rust. I put a new blade in and it was so nice to cut with. Here’s hoping this one lasts a little better…

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My child is fearless.

On Tuesday Gorgeous Man and I celebrated our wedding anniversary. We went to a lovely restaurant – the food was fabulous. We sat by big open windows and had a stunning view of the sun setting over Table Mountain in the distance. Gorgeous Girl was very impressed with the playground. First, she went on the kiddy slide.

And that was fine, until she spotted the “Slide of Doom”.

Yes, it is as tall as it looks. Gorgeous Man went up the ladder behind her, but she climbed the whole way by herself.

It was fun to see Gorgeous Man sliding down with her.

I’ve been working on Gorgeous Girl’s scrapbook. This was an experiment I tried.

Using plain white and cutting out motifs from the patterned paper. I then took a class on Wednesday last week and this was the layout.

Patterned paper is quite expensive here, compared to Australia and the USA,  so I can see more of this type of scrapping in my future. I have done two more layouts since the class that have employed this technique.

Occasionally Gorgeous Man will stumble upon tutorials online that he sends me the link to. This skirt is the result of one of those emails.

Through no fault of the tutorial,  it didn’t turn out that great, and looks kind of handmade, but it’s OK for around the house in the very hot weather we have been having. I had problems hemming it after I had sewn the two pieces together.  The fabric came from stash (part of my inherited stash, so I don’t feel too badly that it didn’t work out super great). I think if I do this again with good fabric I will hem the bottom piece before attaching it.

There has been more spinning. This is 100% merino, and was part of my December fibre club shipment.

This is available for trade, I’m willing to trade handspun, fibre or commercial yarn. There’s nothing wrong with the yarn, just not colours that I know I will ever use. So if you would like this to come and live with you, make me an offer.  🙂  I will insist that you wait until it arrives to you before you post anything, so that if SA post does the dodgy, then only one of us is out of pocket.

Kerin if you like this, let me know and I’ll knit it into more fingerless gloves for you.

Finally, a charity hat. I’ve been sticking to my “Fridays are for Charity knitting” plan so far this year and have been finding that it’s a great way to use up bits and pieces in the stash and I’m getting a fair bit made as well.

I have email again (mostly, but not quite like it was before). It’s nice to be reconnected 🙂

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I hope everyone had a Happy New Year’s Day.

I don’t have any resolutions for 2009 other than to move more and to spend some time being creative every day.

I Thought I’d show you some new things today, what with it being a new year and all.

Gorgeous Girl has a new pair of pants. I hope they fit…

She’s asleep right now, so I can’t try them on her. I picked up the fabric and the pattern at Joanne’s on my trip to San Francisco last year.

I had my first attempt at plying. Here is my very first yarn spun on a spindle.

Behold, yarn barf.

This is the second spindle spun. I can see improvement…

This was spun in the grease.

Here is my first ever wheel spun. The brown is Jacob and the white is mohair.

There are parts of this that I’m quite proud of 🙂

I also made 3 new scrapbook pages yesterday. I find I sticking bits of paper on a page while Gorgeous Girl is awake, much easier than spinning (little hands like to touch the wheel and stop the spindle) and knitting (where I have to count the pattern).

I sorted fabric for a new quilt yesterday as well. It’s kind of complicated, there’s templates and labels and stuff has to be sorted into bags for separate rows. To be honest I’m kind of intimidated and have been avoiding cutting. Today is the day though! It’s going to be a truly international quilt. There’s fabric in it from my trip to the USA, Gorgeous Man’s trip to Canada, and scraps from friends in Finland, and two friends in the UK, as well as South African Fabric.

We are taking Gorgeous Girl to visit a butterfly farm/zoo today. Hopefully she’ll enjoy it and there’ll be some good photo opportunities.

Ok, off to put rotary cutter to fabric -wish me luck.

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Just a quick post to show a little dress I finished yesterday for Gorgeous Girl. This has actually been done for a while, but I couldn’t find buttons that I liked.

These are the third ones I bought for the dress, and were the best I could do with the selection available to me…still not convinced that they work.

I cheated, and didn’t make button holes. I just sewed the two layers together when I sewed the button on (shhh).

Here’s a tip I found out recently for sewing on buttons: If you thread your needle so that there are 4 strands going through it (thread the cotton from both ends) then you don’t have to sew as much 🙂

And that’s the back.

I have a knitted garment blocking as we speak. Hopefully I’ll get some time soon to sew it up. Last Sunday was my first full weekend off in three months. It was heaven. I got the knitted garment finished, and updated Gorgeous Girl’s baby book, and even did some scrapbook pages. Pictures of the scrapping pages in a later post.

Yesterday I photographed my stash in preparation for loading on to Ravelry. I’m hoping that having it stored online will help me keep track of what I’ve got.

Musicwise this time of the year is always insane. This week I’ve spent my free time rehearsing for tonight’s performance for the alumni supper – it went well, except for the crappy sound system. I love singing with the girl I sang with and the song was well received.

Then tomorrow the two choirs I’m in are singing for a musical program as part of the graduation festivities, so we’ve been rehearsing for that.

Sunday I have to work – hey!? Do you think I can trade sleep for crafting time? (I’m currently trading it for blogging time).

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, despite my sporadic posts.

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Yesterday I went to the guild meeting for November (yes, I’m a sucker for punishment) and confirmed for myself that it will well and truly be the last time I attend there. Among other things, Gorgeous Girl was the recipient of several pointedly hostile glances for saying “yummm yummm” and “ahh” while eating her food and looking at a book while the speakers were talking. Not everyone, some folk were lovely, but it just made me feel sad.

So sad in fact that I started crying when I was telling The Chocolate Cat about it later.

So there I was feeling very sorry for myself when I started chatting with one of my colleagues on facebook and I discovered that she runs a Non-Profit Organisation for children in rural schools. These are usually schools on farms where the farm workers children attend. The provide uniforms and stationery and other equipment. I asked her if there was anything she particularly needed and guess what she said…


Last year they managed to help one school (it gets cold in parts of Africa in winter, it even snows in parts) 12 of them knitted 56 scarves. My colleague knitted 18! I figure I can knit a few scarves, any one want to help me?

They need 56 navy blue and 54 bottle green ones – the scarves then match the school uniform and can be worn at school in the classroom.

If you are interested, please let me know, and I’ll give you a mailing address . We’d like to have them in time for June next year (Southern Hemisphere winter). Here is a link to her NPO where you can learn more about what they do: Feeding Children in Africa

Here is a link to their wish-list showing individual schools and what each school needs: FCIA Wish List

So after talking with her, I felt a lot less sorry for myself. I’m going to be knitting some scarves, just as soon as I can get to a yarn store, I’d love for you to join me – we could have a scarf along. Let me know if you are interested.

Then Sarah of Nibbling Along gave me this lovely prize.


An I love your blog award. The rules of the award are as follows:

1. The winner can put the logo on their website/blog.

2. Add a link to the person who gave you the award.

3. Nominate at least five other websites/blogs.

4. Provide links to the nominated websites/blogs.

5. Leave a message at each blog/website telling them they’ve been given the award.

Wow, choosing just 5 is hard…I’m going to try and choose 5 that I haven’t mentioned before. In no particular order:

1. She has the Logic of a Puggle – This is an Australian blog, and while she lives in a different part of Australia to where I am from, her pictures often remind me of home. Btw, puggle is a real word, you’ll have to visit to see what it means.

2. Life’s a Quilt – Hedgehog is an incredible quilter, I really envy her style, who has recently taken the first steps down the slippery slope of the knitting obsessed fraternity 🙂 She also gets to travel to very cool places and I enjoy her travel pics very much.

3. Through the Loops – The most amazing knitting designs (I have quite a number sitting on my to do list waiting for the perfect yarn) and beautiful photography.

4. Javajem Knits – I don’t think there’s anything Javajem can’t do, she knits, spins, quilts, sews, and draws the most amazingly whimiscal pictures. Plus she’s just a really nice person and I feel privileged to call her my friend. And to think we’d never have met if it hadn’t been for the magic of the ‘innernets’ – Thanks Al Gore!

5. Patchywork of Mini Grey – Another Aussie blogger. I’m in love with her paper piecing at the moment. Very different from traditional paper piecing, but so effective. I’m planning on showing her website to my new quilting group at our meeting on Monday.

On the weekend F came over and we sewed the MOST adorable little summer dress out of white embroidered lawn and lace. I’m going to have to borrow a camera so I can show you. I don’t know if I can wait until Gorgeous Man gets home. Now I know how to add shirring elastic 🙂 There is one more dress and a skirt ready to be shirred up. Unfortunately it’s been too cold to wear the dress 😦

It’s November and I’m sleeping with a handmade quilt and a thick blanket on top of that still.

Anyway, Gorgeous Girl is asleep – we had a rough night due to some tummy issues so I’m going to hit my sewing machine.

Let me know if you are interested in the scarves.

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…that Gorgeous Girl has twowords: ‘Daddy’ and ‘Gone’, but still won’t say ‘Mummy’?

The Gone is said in relation to food and bottle more often than it is in relation to Daddy, but even so…

It’s been a hectic week. We’ve had some changes in the care for Gorgeous Girl. The girl that has been coming to watch Gorgeous Girl didn’t turn up for work Monday and Tuesday (which made working from home with no childcare interesting) and then on Tuesday night she resigned. I’m happy for her. She has a new full-time job for one of the major supermarkets here, so financially and career-wise she’s better off, so it’s good for her.

While I was in the USA we had two people looking after Gorgeous Girl during the day, so I asked D if she’d be interested in taking over. She was,  and Wednesday and Thursday were great. D has a little boy about 10 months older than Gorgeous Girl and she had great fun chasing him around the house giggling hysterically. Then Friday she came to tell me that she needs to study for two weeks. So I am once again without a carer for Gorgeous Girl (for the next two weeks). It’s only 3 hours a day, 4 days a week, but it’s such a huge help, especially since housework gets done while Gorgeous Girl naps…

So D is bringing a friend over on Sunday to see if she can take over for the 2 weeks while she’s on study leave. Of course, all this would happen while Gorgeous Man is away 🙂

There’s been a bit of knitting going on, and I’m hoping to have a FO to photograph by the time the camera comes back from its travels with Gorgeous Man. I’m also hoping to get a bit of sewing done this weekend. I picked up a very cute pattern for pants, and some fabulous lime green fabric with red embroidered ladybugs while I was in the USA.

Our little breakaway from the guild group had it’s first meeting this week (with *gasp* an agenda!!!). We had a great time. We’ve decided to call ourselves the Free Radicals. Interestingly, with the exception of F we are all foreign. There are five of us so far, and we are thinking that a group of about 10 would work well. The other names that were floated were mostly foreign as well. Given the recent guild dramas, we are being very selective about who we invite. We just want people who are nice, and who want to sew without powerplays etc. We have some exciting plans, and I think it’s going to be fun, and Gorgeous Girl is more than welcome.

Well Gorgeous Girl is sleeping and there’s a pattern waiting to be traced off and cut out. This post was longer, but my internet died and I can’t remember what witty things I wrote…

Enjoy your crafting, and for those of my friends in the USA – happy voting!

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The 24th of September is Heritage Day in South Africa. It celebrates the diversity and heritage of all South Africans. It is also known as National Braai (BBQ) day and people are encouraged to have braais with their family and friends. For the past two years we have, in fact, partaken of braais on this day (long time readers may remember the whole sheep on a spit…) but this year the weather has been so wet and cold that no one in our circle of friends bothered.

I was part of the college’s Heritage Day celebrations as the college choir sang in English and in Xhosa. The Xhosa songs brought the house down. At one stage the audience was cheering so loudly we couldn’t hear ourselves singing.

The celebrations started off with a parade of all of the nations represented on the campus. They missed a few (the Aussies, the Swiss, and the Italians) but the UK and the USA flags were carried in by their countrymen.

The highlight of the celebrations for me was the traditional dances. I took about 100 photos (a lot of which didn’t turn out because catching people dancing at a distance with a point and shoot is kind of tricky), but I thought you might like to see some of the best ones.

All of the dancing groups began at the back of the hall and made their way to the fron singing and dancing. These are the Xhosa ladies

After the Xhosa dancers it was the turn of the dancers from   Lesotho (say le sue two). This is one part of Africa I really want to visit before we leave. Lesotho is a small country completely surrounded by South Africa and is extremely mountainous. It is cold there, it snows in winter, and the national costume reflects that.

With out the blankets the ladies clothes are reflective of a European influence.

This was part of the dance.

I love the Sotho (if you are from Lesotho you are called Sotho (say Sue two) men’s hats.

These guys had some really wild fighting displays with the sticks, but unfortunately all of those shots turned out blurry as they were too fast for my camera to handle.

The biggest team of dancers came from Botswana. Wednesday was cold. I was wearing jeans, hand knit socks, turtle neck jumper and a coat. Botswana is considerably warmer than South Africa, and their national costume reflects this.

Hope you enjoyed your glimpses of Heritage day.

In crafting news: Gorgeous Girl has another new dress, same pattern as before, in blue this time. Pictures when it has buttons. I made a new skirt, drafted the pattern myself from an online tutorial. Maths was never my strong poing, the angle of the skirt is a bit odd. I’m not sure if it’s quirky or just really ugly. Gorgeous Man leans towards really ugly, and I trust his advice. So I’m thinking this is going to be an around the house skirt. Once it’s washed I’ll take a picture for you.

Gorgeous Girl has been running a temperature for the last few days, hence the blog silence. I am nearly ready for my trip to San Francisco – all of the major stuff is done. Now I just need to find time for a haircut. We will not mention that the exchange rate is the worst it has been since we arrived *sigh*

Oh, and we have a new (for us) car. Pictures when it has stopped raining long enough to take them…

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