The “Going Full Circle” Skirt

I was so excited about this Sew Weekly challenge.  I have been wanting to make a circular skirt for ever.


I dragged out my old textbook from Tech to draft my pattern (Natalie Bray’s Pattern Drafting).  It’s full of sketches that look very 1950’s actually  – funny I hated just about everything in it back in 1991.  Especially the cap sleeves – I love them now!

Casey at Elegant Musings has done all the work of explaining it if you want to try drafting your own.


I love this style of 50’s moody, abstract floral print.  But I am not sure about these colours! They clash – don’t you think? I was thinking about painting over that fire engine red to “knock  it back a bit”.  Over the 18 months that I have owned this fabric, I have gone from “had to have it – must buy 5.5 metres?!?!)” to “hate it” but it’s grown on me and now I think I love it. I think is best with plain top and simple accessories.

Like the one I am wearing. Yes, I made it too. In 1997 – ahem.  What can I say but good quality fabric lasts.  It’s made in a heavy-ish cotton lycra jersey. Wish I could find some more – got it from work (a now defunct Sydney fashion label).

So the skirt is super easy. Made with three seams because tt’s long. It has a zip, waistband and button.  This fabric sews like a dream and drapes beautifully.

During the sewing the waist stretched I discovered, after finishing, it that it is too big. It needs altering before I can wear it.

I thought about attempting the horsehair braid or crinoline hemming method that is fashionable. But didn’t order it from Melbourne (for $3 per metre) in time. And Tessutti Fabrics, I love you but I am not paying $6 a metre – thanks!


The last time I sat on the ground for a photo was on my wedding day!  That time it was sand, at the beach.  This time it was on the neighbours ratty grass, under the amazing sandstone hanging rocks at the front of this property.  Mark and I had a laugh doing the photos, especially the ones of me sitting awkwardly on the ground or on tree stumps!

So apart from the fact that the waist is huge on me and I feel like it’s too short –  with more work it could potentially be a good piece for this Autumn.


My Russian amber necklace and bracelet were a present from my dad when I was a teenager.  I love them.  He always gives me jewellery – I am a bit spoilt!

Love this Deco button – it’s like a little toffee!

The Facts

Fabric: From Spotlight: Stretch Cotton Lycra Sateen $14.95/m
Pattern:  Self Drafted
Year: 2012
Notions: Waist interfacing, 1 button, zip
Time to complete: 3 hours approx.

Cost: $55

First worn: For the photos
Wear again? Yes – to a friends 40th next weekend


Excuse the typo

Do you like Typo?  I find their vintage aesthetic and have-to-have stationery items irresistable.

The swearing and rude jokey things I can do without.

But I could not do with out these babies – feast your eyes!

A yummier neoprene (wetsuit material) laptop sleeve I have never seen. Those images have just walked right of a pattern envelope – and are gorgeous – there’s even a red polka dot dress – yum!

Maybe I would have been more into diving (like the men of my family) if the wetsuits were more interesting!

Gorgeous notepad for scribbling down ideas for blog - featuring bunting - I adore that stuff!

Laser Cut Antique Sewing Machine - now on display in the Sewing Room of course!

A great place for presents, not just for girls, their cool typographic items will do for the men in your life too. But it’s Mothers Day coming up soon so get something cool for your Mum or Nana this year!

Buying this saved me money!

Do you like this? I got it recently when I purchased some other fabric from the U.S. I thought I would make the postage more worthwhile. Smart thinking right?

I love its sewing imagery – the patterns, the typography, a tape measure here and there!

I think it will be used to cover pattern boxes in my sewing/guest room – where the struggle to fit it all in, continues!

My kids go back to school tomorrow, its happy and sad. Sad that I don’t get a to have a bit of a sleep in but happy that they are not baying for my constant snacks! Can anyone relate?

Happy sewing to you!

The fabric details are: From the “Homespun Chic” collection by Melody Ross for the new Blend Fabrics, a division of Anna Griffin Inc, highest quality quilt shop cotton.

The “Hello Sailor” Pants

We come from a rather seafaring family so my parents thought it was a huge joke to dress my brother and up like a couple of little sailors.

I remember one photo in which I wore a pleated skirt and a midi. My brother got to wear his sailor suit with a large handmade round union jack brooch (made from that Fimo – modelling clay which is so 70’s). Poor guy.  Luckily he turned out to be a big, tough deep-sea diver – not scarred at all

But I love sailor pants and have wanted to make some for ages. I have kind of cornered the market on sailor pant patterns and I have about 4 different ones. A little excessive I know.

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As I am the worlds laziest sewer – well I thought I would give Butterick 6662 a go – because there are a piece of cake. I used my Tried and Tested 60’s trouser pattern that I have made repeatedly – but strangely not for about 10 years, which is when I bought the fabric I think?.

Adjustments made to the pattern include widening the legs and adjusting for my sway back. I also made the “Sailor Panel” by interfacing it, then bagging it out with lining and hand finishing it. I top stitched around it then attached one side to the front of the trousers. There is a tiny little zip and darts hidden under the panel.

I just finished the top to the pants with bias binding because I rarely tuck things into pants.

I think I need to pull my finger out and make a proper pair with the facings over on the side hip more – with all the facings and fiddling around. These are ok. I will wear them – once I find a suitable top that doesn’t expose me quite so much!

Here is a photo my Aunt gave me for my 40th.  It’s of my brother, cousins and I on a bush walk.  I am the leggy on in the gypsy top.  What I wouldn’t give to have those legs back – you’d never see me in a skirt – it’d be shorts all the time!

The Facts Fabric: Polyester Lycra Pinstripe from the 90’s
Pattern: Butterick 6662 (Sailor Panel) and McCalls 8390 (Pants)
Year: 1970 and 1966 respectively
Notions: Small amounts of interfacing and lining fabric, 6 buttons and bias binding
Time to complete: 4 hours
First worn:
Wear again? Yes

Image projected


I have been thinking a bit lately about the image we project to others.  And the reality.  Because no matter what we think we are projecting, the truth comes out!  And what we are is plain for all to see!  Take this photo shoot for example.  I got some lovely compliments on the last post, on Sew Weekly and on Facebook.  The reality is that I am a 40-something suburban mum, whose career in fashion was utterly unsuccessful, who lives in jeans and flat shoes.

I thought I would share some of the not so good photos from our little photo shoot down by the harbour.  It was a family affair!  Lets take a look at a few of the technical difficulties from the 500 or so photos we took.

The Hair – if you read my blog regularly – you know how I can’t do hair.  I  try to take photos on the day I get my hair cut, that way I don’t have to deal with it.  How’s that for projecting an image!  I call this do “ratty birds nest” !

The Wind!

Hello Sydney harbour, quite the wind tunnel aren’t you!  Did not help the hair at all.

The Wardrobe Malfunction!

Mark took about 100 photos of me with my stomach straining through the gap between my skirt and my too small belt – attractive no?

The Kids

Where are the kids?  Oh there they are:

They were about 4 metres off the ground! Now each one of those boys has had a trip to the hospital in the last 2 months. They were ordered down immediately.

The Shoes

Ok $5 from an Op Shop is really all these are worth. I could not walk more than about 200 metres in them.  In this photo I am saying “Please hold Mummy’s hand and help me walk” see the heel sinking into the grass!

I hope that has given you a laugh.  What lies do you tell in front of your camera? – I would love to see a link to your funny photos!

The “Coathanger” Skirt


The Facts
Fabric: Seven vintage tablecloths from Op Shops – about $40
Pattern: Vogue 7924
Year: 1950 something
Notions: Zip, bias binding for the waistband
Time to complete: 8 hours
First worn: For the photos
Wear again: Yes – while the warm weather lasts and with toned down accessories and minus the petticoats.
Total price: Under $50

Gidday!  I finally got myself out of the ‘burbs and down to the water for some photos for the The Sew Weekly City challenge.  The Sydney Harbour Bridge is colloquially known as The Coathanger and she turned 80 recently.  She is a stunner!

I moved to Sydney on New Years Eve of 1992.  I had just finished studying Fashion Design and I was going to have to leave my home town Wellington, New Zealand for work.  I had friends in Sydney so I came to stay with them.  I planned to stay a while and save for a trip to London.

That means I have been here for 20 years this year!  I did make it to London for a wedding back in 1997, but I love it here!

This skirt is my ode to Sydney.  Sydney is huge, brash, outspoken and good-looking (hopefully so is this skirt!) and so are its people.  It can also be lonely, rude and expensive, congested and HOT!

I met my husband here, (he’s of Italian and Maltese background so he’s very special).  I have two Australian children.  It’s home now and the sickness is not bad after all that time (I miss my parents in NZ).

I have lived all over the place – so you know what that means – I know all the good op shops!  This is where I found the fabric for my skirt.  Collected over several years, but most of it pretty recently.  The roses on the grey background – is one of my favourites in the skirt and just came home a week ago!

A considerable amount of time was spent cutting and arranging the patchwork, much like making a patchwork quilt.  Not to mention the pieces that had to be unpicked and moved.

I have made this skirt before and it is the style of skirt my mum alway said suited me best.  The yoke is more flattering than gathers from the waist on my pear shape.  Thanks Mum!

If I tire of this skirt – it may be upcycled to become the mother of all table runners!

I felt more than a little bit silly wearing this ridicoulous outfit down by the water.  I thought that it wouldent be that busy down at Kirribilli on a gorgeous public holiday.  So I just had to suck it up and get it done, as I had dragged the whole family down there just for my photos!  One thing about Sydney is that people dress pretty casual most of the time!  I had skyscraper heels, two petticoats under the skirt and a massive flower in my hair.  The worst moment was when a boatload of tourists turned up!

Wishing the ground would swallow me up as the Ferry full of tourists cruises past!

The tablecloth skirt – I loved this baby from Anthropologie and started adding to my collection of vintage tablecloths soon after seeing it.

Source: via Trish on Pinterest

Sydney is a great place to live – and a wonderful place to visit – if you lob in and if you need a tour guide – give me a hoy, I will take you on a tiki tour!