Sewing Retreat Wrap Up

Oops! I just noticed this sitting in the drafts, 5 months on… Sorry Catty! Sorry also that there aren’t more photos – I’ll try to find and add some soon.

Helen xx

Nine days. Big plans! I was going to sew up a storm, update my sewing journal, read some books, schedule in French practice…My plans were:

Finish the Merchant and Mills Clementine Skirt

Finish Style Arc Crystal Over Shirt (which was already cut out)

A Simplicity A-line skirt

Lander Pants

Dawn Jeans

Moji pants

2 x Cielo tops

2 x Molly tops

Grainline Renfrew t-shirt

Tilly & the Buttons Indigo dress.

The first day of the sewing retreat was spent lamenting what we had failed to pack/organise which resulted in an emergency trip to Mornington. That meant that I also printed out the Bryn Seamwork dress. This was a good thing.

The second day we went into Cowes for more supplies of things, including some scrap fabric for the pocket bags of my Clementine skirt. I was anxious to crack on with that while Helen was with me as she has done a Ginger Jeans workshop. She was great moral support with the pocket bags which I tackled that evening. However, the first thing I actually made was a happy accident. Helen ran out of fabric and I knew there was some green linen in my ENORMOUS suitcase of ‘just-in-case’ fabric. So she cut into it and then I decided to see if I could get a Cielo from the leftovers. I could. So I did. Discovered I had some cream linen ‘just-in-case’ bias binding and a whole case of ‘just-in-case’ buttons. Perfect!

That meant that the next make had to be the Moji pants as I had nothing to wear with the Cielo top. I used a beautiful silver sage twill for these and I’m delighted with the result. This is the third pair of Moji pants I’ve made and this time I scrapped the cuff and I’m pleased I did.

Next I did some mindless overlocking of the Lander pants and placed the back pockets on to the pieces, hand-sewing them. This meant I’d cut into my denim and, looking at, I thought there was possibly enough for the A-line skirt pattern I’d bought, thinking I’d cut it from some cotton stretch sateen I had brought with me.  I used it for the denim instead and lickety split – with a few zipper supply problems – had a straight skirt from that.

That brought my grasshopper attention back to the cotton sateen which I thought might make a Bryn. It did. Another Bryn followed – great shift pattern. Very easy to sew and to wear. The Clementine was looking too big by this stage, so I put it on the back burner.

Helen went home, the weather turned cold and I thought I’d make a Molly top with sleeves from a pretty stretch cotton/linen I’d originally thought would make a new nightgown. I stitched that up and wore it the same night – good, straight forward pattern and it kept me warm!

My husband and mother turned up the next day by which time I’d sewn the Indigo dress – so many gathers! – and made another Costa Tote – because there was still pesky denim leftover!

What did I learn? Don’t put your house on the market the day you disappear for a sewing retreat!
Have a checklist and delegate responsibility for certain items.
Make time to check your supplies – haberdashery, patterns and fabric.
It’s so much easier to sew in a space where you can spread things out!
Also, I can make a good portion of a seasonal wardrobe in a concentrated few days.

I declare the 2020 summer sewing retreat a success!

The Ilford Jacket, a new home and the plague.

Just before the first Melbourne COVID19 lockdown, we moved. It was great timing – before the tight rules on social distancing made it all a little more nightmarish. It was lousy timing – we’d imagined a family&friends-friendly home with its pool table, spa and lawn. A lawn! In the Hills. Rare.

Then, of course, the lockdown. Which forced us all back on our resources. Craftily, my own survive-the-apocalypse stash had survived my husband’s attempts to minimalise.

Enter the sewing splurge….

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Lingerie Sewing Plans

Fun Fact: this is my seventh year of being single. I haven’t had a ‘boyfriend’ since I turned 21, just a string of casual flings. Apart from realising I am completely unsuited to the insecurity of casual relationships, my years of being single have been a rollercoaster for my lingerie drawer.

Does anyone else make a beeline for the lingerie department the moment they have a new love interest? I do, every time. I only buy underwear when I’m interested in someone or I have literally worn through my options. 

But you know what? My thirties are going to be wonderful. 

Starting with my underwear drawer; from now on, it’s for me. I want comfortable bralettes in all the textures and colours, high-waisted and hipster and strappy and boyleg underwear, and I want to wear it every day because I love it, I made it, I’m proud of it, and I’m proud of me. 

So read on if you want to know where to get lingerie sewing supplies in Australia, how I’m storing my supplies, and which patterns I’m using…


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5 Books to Read after Normal People

I’ve read Normal People by Sally Rooney at least three times, and watched the new TV adaptation multiple as well. When I put it down, I just couldn’t get my head out of the Normal People world – both a compliment to the author and incredibly frustrating.

Also incredibly frustrating because aren’t those characters and their complete lack of communication infuriating?!

So here’s what to read when you put it down…

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which will reward me monetarily or otherwise when you use them to make qualifying purchases.

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Creating my Alhambra Soldotna Sweater

A Global Pandemic is the best time to think about travel, right?

Back in 2014 I spent a couple of months holidaying in Spain – yes I know you Britons & Europeans (usually) can go there any time, but an Australian can’t! – and the Moorish sites I visited were captivating. I love deep blues and greens, so it was natural to turn to those colours when I started dyeing yarn.

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Lockdown Knitting WIPS

You’d think that during the middle of a Covid-19 Lockdown I’d be able to blog more consistently, but apparently not! I have, instead, been knitting. Sitting quietly and forming stitch after stitch has been a relief – a constant ability when the world and my future is unreadable.

I’m not going to dwell on the lockdown. That isn’t the purpose of this blog, my struggle isn’t the hardest, and I can’t give anyone any clarity. Instead, here is a cheerful post about the WIPS that have been keeping me (relatively) calm and, as always, the errors I’ve made!

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