The “She’s got issues” Dress

I made this dress back in December, and wore it in January back home in Wellington New Zealand – when I met the lovely, lovely fellow tall girl Kat of  Modern Vintage Cupcakes.  You may have seen the photos on her blog of our meet up for coffee, sunshiny waterfront photo shoot with gelato, followed by the walk home to my folks place.

I apologise for the photos – while some are very beautiful – they don’t show the dress that well.

There’s the infamous Wellington wind blowing up our skirts!

FIRST ISSUE: Not enough fabric

I bought the last piece on the roll – I thought – great that will make a nice skirt.

Then I became obsessed by the above pattern – and would have loved to find a similar border print – nothing on eBay except swimwear fabrics and other uglies. So this stripe (is that what you would call it?) fabric had to do. It was really wide so I convinced myself there was a dress in there – waiting to get out!

I had to piece together bits of fabric to get the bodice out of the fabric I had left.

SECOND ISSUE: The pattern

The pattern was teeny tiny – I should have thrown it away and used something that fitted me.


It looks weird, like it’s creeping around my body. The side seams of course don’t match up either.

FOURTH ISSUE: The wrong undergarments.

I purchased a black strapless bra, not realizing at the time that it is some kind of super duper booster bra! Now, I don’t have nothing to start with, so that didn’t help!

I haven’t worn it again – I might give it another try sans push-up strapless stupidity – before it feels the wrath of my pink unpicker and is transformed into the skirt it should have always been.

And Kat, well she is a bit shy, surprising for a girl with hair as blue as Wellington’s sky on a good day! But by the end of our walk she told me that she was expecting! I felt so special that she shared her secret with me. It made me forget my dress issues immediately! She is going to be a wonderful Mum!

Here is my spring palette, I hope this dress falls into it – the oranges and brown are not exactly correct but I doubt anyone will notice!

By the way, I am standing in front of one of the remnant building of Wellington’s early China town – cute isn’t it!



Spring Palette – and a dose of reality

It’s Autumn. Sydney’s mornings are starting to feel a bit nippy. There is the odd tree around that has leaves that change colour – but the gum trees are deciduous so it stays looking pretty green.  I always know Spring on its way when the wattle trees in the National Park near our place, turn lime green (before turning yellow). Lime is one of my favourite colours.

Once I made a lime green jacket.  It was the 90’s – my lovely friend Tiffany was getting married.  I wore it with pride to the wedding.  It was nothing to be proud of – it was polyester and was pretty awful!

Source: via Trish on Pinterest



A pair of Florence Broadhurst upholstered vintage teak armchairs with high backs and surfboard armrests, upholstered in Kabuki pattern.

Tiffany was a textile designer.  She worked at Signature Prints in Sydney.  She had a big hand in bringing Florence Broadhurst prints back to the world!  She has since retired from the heady world of fashion in Sydney – as have I.  “Fashion is so glamorous”- that is the perception and not the reality.  The fashion industry can suck you dry.  It is so empty of meaning – that it takes a really tough person to stay in it.

Wow this has become rather deep rather fast!  Let’s look at something pretty – ‘cos let’s face it – that’s why you came!

Ironically I have put together my take on a spring colour palette based on Pantone’s forecast of which colours will be in next Spring – believe me I need that much time to get the sewing done!  It is rather heavy on the tablecloths as next week I plan to cut up a whole lot of vintage ones (stained and too small to be useful – but still needing admiration.

The colours are:

Tangerine Tango (ORANGE), Solar Power (YELLOW), Sodalite Blue (ROYAL BLUE), Cabaret (HOT PINK), Starfish (TAUPE), Margarita (PISTACHIO GREEN), Sweet Lilac (LOOKS PINK TO ME!), Driftwood (GREY BROWN), Bellflower (PURPLE) and Cockatoo (AQUA)

If you want to see what the colours look like then hop over to : The Fashion Plate where they have a lovely graphic stripe representation.

Actually, this apron has lots of the colours in one print  – I think it’s 1950’s what do you think?  I think it’s a Chintz fabric.    Would have looked amazing on a woman with the right skin tone – its fate is to join the aprons in the skirt.

So am I going to be in fashion next spring?  I like the oranges and browns.  Pink I usually restrict to pyjamas.  I think it’s a shame that lime’s not in fashion.  Or I could do my usual, and do my own thing – who’s with me??

Why not see what the other Sew Weekly ladies have done for their Spring Palettes?

Friends bearing gifts

This is my lovely friend Toni. She loves sewing and got me into quilting.  She is an amazing Graphic Designer. She is also good at hair and make up – which I am not – comes in handy!

Here she is in the kitchen at Rose Seidler House (the Fifties Fair).

“Toni always felt a nagging sense of bemusement in the kitchen…
after her 5 for 5 o’clock martinis”

She scored some patterns recently and she gave them to me!  What a total sweetheart!  So lovely to have friends like that.  Here is just some of the booty!

A classic trench coat.  I own several patterns for these, but have never made one – it might be time.

A Dress that is a sleeveless Trench Coat – yes please!

This curvy suit looks great.  I love the cut of the pants and the faced waist.

And my friend Toni – thanks gorgeous!

The “Rose Hips” Top and Skirt

Thanks for stopping by!  The 5th season is launching in the U.S. this week.  So to celebrate  our Sew Weekly challenge garment is to recreate a look inspired by the show.  Yay!

Alternative titles for this: The “Like Joan from the Back” Top and Skirt, or The “Hips like Joan” Top and Skirt.

This project has been brewing in my head for months since some time in 2011 when Mena first mentioned we’d be doing – I for one, am glad it got pushed back a few months!

My favourite dress from the show is Joan’s Dress with Roses, worn for that scene when she hosts her husband’s colleagues for dinner and he humiliates her.  Sad night – great dress.

I heard from someone who saw the actual costume in person, that the roses were roughly appliqued onto the dress.  I can do rough!

So, the top started life as an 80’s  Batwing Dress plus size dress from the Australian Label – Maggie T.  It caught my eye in the Op shop because it’s made from a lovely wool jersey.

There was not enough fabric to make a dress – so it became a top.


Cut out Roses roughly.

Iron the interfacing on to the reverse of the fabric

Cut out carefully

Zig-zag the edge

Topstitch into position

Attach facings

Sew side seams

Insert sleeves and finish hems

Makes it sound easy right?  It took hours – and was all done in stages


Of course this was not easy either due to a monumental stuff up I made.

The skirt, due to my lack of organization, acquired an extra pattern piece from another skirt – fate had it that I measured this piece to see if the skirt was going to bet too short (as I suspected) then, much to my surprise I discovered that it was long enough (except it wasn’t).

So I was disappointed to learn upon trying it on – that I had made the whole thing too short.  And I had used nearly all my fabric.

I had procrastinated so much I was now down to the wire.  I had a hair appointment scheduled for Thursday and was going to get my Hair Dresser Christina to do me an Up-Do.

Another few days delay to work out what to do – I had to add the ruffle to the hem.  I think it worked ok.  I still need to line the skirt and I wanted to line the ruffle in this fabulous red lining fabric I have had for years.

I got home from the Hair dressers and threw on the ruffle and put the zip in.


I have to say a big elastic belt covers a multitude of sins.  It makes a badly fitting. unhemmed top fit and covers up the unfinished waist of a skirt!

Photo day was a hot 30 degrees again – of course – sweating in wool again!  Pretend to be feeling really glamorous, while wondering to self “Maybe if I had spent more time on sewing than shopping for 60’s glass ware to make the drinks cabinet pretty – this would have been totally finished?”

And thanks to Maureen Elliott my Mum’s dear friend for the stunning  60’s jet earrings, which were a present a few years ago (with a matching necklace).

New Season of Mad Men – Bring it on!

The Facts
Fabric: Top: Upcycled Wool Jersey Dress and Rose Print Cotton Lycra Sateen, Skirt: upholstery Wool from stash
Pattern: Top: Simplicity 5939  Skirt: Simplicity Rebecca Taylor V1169
Year: 1965 and 2010 respectively
Notions: Interfacing from stash
Time to complete: 6 months including thinking time
First worn: For photos
Wear again? The top -yes.  The skirt – they both need more work really.
Total price: $25

The “It Was Meant To Be” Top

Do you ever go to the op shop find some fabric you just love, fling it over your shoulder because your hands are full of other stuff (this is a good day!).  Then you get home and realize that slippery little sucker has fallen off your shoulder and got left behind.  And then you go back a week late just of the off-chance it is still there – and it is!!!

Welcome to the top that was “meant to be”.













An alternative title could be the “Polyester Prada Knock-off” Top.

This photo is from:

Or the “Don’t you hate it when you finally donate that fabric you’ve had hanging around since the 1980’s,then it becomes fashionable again” Top.

The pattern was a size 10 – which escaped my notice until I had finished the whole thing!  Luckily it just fits and is meant to be worn tucked in (80’s style) so if I made this pattern I would make less snug so I can wear it out with out it bunching up weirdly.  Should have done a toile.

It’s green week at the Sew Weekly for St Patrick’s Day.  I know this is not very green.   I love to wear green and I think I wear it a lot – but I found  I had very few green fabrics in my stash and I wanted to make something quick.

The Facts
Fabric: Polyester remnant $4
Pattern: Simplicity 5843
Year: 1983
Notions: Interfacing from stash
Time to complete: 2 hours
First worn: To church, then the park for photos
Wear again? Yes, to work
Total price: $4 – but looks like hundreds – gotta love that!

Plastic jewellery and glasses – op shop – really cheap

Shell Earrings – from a friend

Washing day blues
















Look at these pretties! I had a little trip to some of my favourite op shop haunts yesterday as I went deep into the suburbs for my haircut.

I thought it was clever how they made themselves into a blue vignette.

The still life oil painting was $10.

The 1960’s glass jug was $7.

The 1960’s necklace was also $7 – I saw these selling for $45 at the Sydney Antiques Centre when I was there with my friends recently.

I am preparing for a busy weekend – doing lots of washing – the hot weather should have it dry in no time. Sydney mums are obsessed with discussing the washing – it’s been such a wet summer. We try hard not to use our clothes dryers – unless it’s been raining for weeks – or its the dead of winter. It’s expensive and bad for the environment – just not the done thing!

I hope you have a lovely weekend – where ever you are!

I have been so excited to see people are reading my blog in Lithuania!  And