chit-chat · sewing

{ TREASURE } Found…

The hubster has recently made us 2 lovely tables for our home – one for the dining room & one for outdoor. He made both these tables from timber that has been lying around the factory (some inside, some outside in the elements) for 20+years….yip! They chopped down a European Walnut tree in their garden all those years back. The timber was chopped & stacked but no-one ever did anything more with it.

Now my beady eye sees { EVERYTHING } & I am fortunate enough to have the ability to see potential in old things so I “commissioned” the timber to be used for our tables. Some of the timber is worm eaten but I kinda dig the character of timber that is bashed around a little. I hate perfect looking timber with perfect grain & finish. I like a little roughness & natural oiled finishes – so the results are exactly what we wanted…

Now, you thinking WTF has this got to do with sewing??!! Ok, well in my scrounging around the factory, I came across this : thread_find

{ EXCITEMENT }  how amazing right?! The majority is really old Gütermann silk threads for buttons but there is quite a bit of cotton thread there too. We think they had something to do with either coats or jeans because the colours are all dark, muted tones (grey, dark greens, blues etc) with one or two brights mixed in.  The boxes are really old but there are no dates on them so we have no idea how old they are!! There was even a box of buttons (mostly black) and buckles so Im thinking coats or perhaps military wear??!

There was so much loveliness bundled up in one place I think my heart skipped a little beat. Lets say I wont be needing blue, brown or black thread for quite some time!


pattern review · sewing

{ BURDASTYLE } Tulip skirt…

I love skirts more than shorts but I realised, I dont have enough cute skirts for summer hence the birthing of this little tulip. As you may have already seen, I love to use traditional wear fabrics (ie. indian saris, african prints etc) in untraditional ways. BS_04_2010_11_tulipfront

For this skirt I used a piece of Shweshwe fabric in dark chocolate brown that Ive had for years & years. I purchased a whole stack of it in South Africa & made many wrap skirts over the years. The fabric is 100% cotton and starched to the hilt when its new. After a few washes it gets this really lovely softness however Im going to keep mine starched a bit because I think it will hold the tulip better & I love me some starch!BS_04_2010_111_tulipback

Shweshwe is made by DaGama Textiles in South Africa & originally, the fabrics were only available in the indigo blue however the chocolate brown & red followed & remained constant for many years but these days you can find it in a whole slew of fashionable colours which is really cool. Back in the apartheid era though, white people would never have been seen in Shweshwe because it was considered “traditional wear”, however, today everyone in SA wears it irrelevant of size, colour or sex. Its become a celebrated & universal fabric used for clothing, homeware and accessories. I personally have always been a fan & Ive been making my own clothes with it for years, initially because it was cheap fabric but then I became a fabric whore & started buying because I couldnt get enough of the patterns..the more I looked, the more I discovered. If you want to know more, you can read the history of Shweshwe here. Since this fabric is dyed in strong colours, beware of colour running when wet, especially the indigo!!

I used a marigold yellow ric-rac trim on the pocket edges to add a pop of colour & give a bit of interest & I inserted a white invisible zip to the side which went in perfectly the first time. I must admit, having a dedicated invisible zip foot for the Sapphy definitely helps :-).  I love the clever waistband which has a small fitted waistband under the wide waist tie which can either be made up to a bow at the front or tied slightly to the side. It hides the zip head as well as the hook & eye closure.BS_04-2010-111_tulipdetail

I added an extra pocket front for some extra weight to the pockets. By this I mean, I cut 4 pieces of pockets. I stitched the trim to the front piece & then added the whole pocket to the front of the skirt. In other words, I did not use the skirt front as the front of my pocket so there are no stitch lines. It means the pocket sits free inside the skirt. It also gave me the opportunity to have a double “tuck” right up next to the ric-rac which is ever so subtle but adds to the pocket detail.

From start to finish, this project took me around 4 hours including the fussing about with the pocket trim. I couldn’t decide whether to go with an orange piping or the ric-rac. I sewed samples of both & then made a decision.

So this completes my Pattern Stash busting & all in all, I managed to bust 4 patterns that had been in my queue for some time.  Now for MMM-2013!

Thanks for stopping by x

pattern review · sewing

{McCalls 5241 (C) – 1 Hour Cardigan}

McCalls 5241-f

I made version C of this cardigan back in 2009 as I so embarrassingly disclosed in the previous post but once it was completed it just didnt feel right. The back was 100% correct length but the front tails were just too long & yuk. So it was boxed, until a few days ago. I had just hit a sewing mojo & I couldnt figure out why. I think my {ALTERATIONS BOX} has something to do with it though. I feel so guilty starting a new project when I have unfinished projects waiting to be attended to. So, one down & a few more to go to total guilt-free sewing!

I found this piece of knitted brown-with-gold-thread delightfulness in a store back in Holland when we lived there 2009-2010. Im not usually a brown lovin’ girl but paired with the gold thread, I was sold. I also loved the slight cable pattern which you can see nicely in this pic.


After cutting off some of the length (which now made it version B), I wanted more fullness around the neck so I could also wrap it like a pashmina so I added around 30cm all along which I can now either fold over or scrunch & fling over my shoulder.

McCalls 5241-b

An easy {EASY} pattern which consists of just 2 pieces. No seams under the arms or shoulders…just make the holes & attached the sleeves. Knowing what I know now about this pattern & if I were to try it again, Im sure it would take me just 1 hour but for the first attempt… many hours in 3 years  ??? hahahahaha

Recommended for beginners +

Thanks for stopping by x


{Alterations – like | dislike}

{ALTERATIONS} – hmmmm…to me they are like dark, scary creature living under my bed. or hiding behind the door. For real, I know they are not that scary {or even exist…pfft} but there is something about an alteration that just makes me lose my mojo. I can procrastinate on an alteration {FOREVER}.

Classic example : I stitched this lovely McCalls 5241 “1-hr cardigan” back in 2009. yes, you read correctly 2009!!


Back then I was still using my old sewing machine thats built like a tractor and sews like one too. Yeah, you guessed it, Im just trying to blame my machine when what I did was silly & buggered up the edgings by not using the correct needle. Its not like the edges are terrible, they just werent 100% to my liking. So the finished item was never reviewed (even though I have pretty good things to say about it), never worn (even though I really love the fabric) & went straight into the {ALTERATIONS BOX} for fixing. 3 and a half years later…never fixed….

All that is about to change…Im tired of having an alterations box. Honestly, there is nothing cute about it for me. It just reminds me how much I still have to get through & makes me feel guilty for starting a new project.

Do you enjoy alterations ? I know there are many sewers that love to do alterations…{THRIVE} on them in fact. Are you one of those or do you procrastinate on them like I do? Do you have an {ALTERATIONS box / bag / wardrobe}?

Thanks for stopping by x


{On the cutting table – leather bag}

I was inspired by this leather ‘shopper’ and decided I would try to re-create something similar that is equally as casual and practical.


I had this brown leather in my {STASH} and didnt want to use any of the nicer coloured leather until I had this first ‘prototype’ well worked out.


I then went on and used a regular plastic shopping bag as a size reference for the paper pattern and then the muslin pattern.  After measuring a few basics in my handbag, I added some length to the muslin so the bag could be that little bit deeper to accommodate all my {CRAPPOLA}.


I then set out to cutting the leather & once I had some off-cuts I started testing stitches on my machine and then {CLUCK CLUCK} one needle broke and it just got worse from there. Now my machine is refusing to stitch more than 4cm without making a birds nest at the back. {PEE’D OFF}. Ive tried everything from adjusting the tension to swopping out needles and experimenting with different sized needles. I just cannot get it to stitch further than the 4cm without the birds nest. I have resorted to contacting Husqvarna for advice – perhaps in all my disappointment I have missed something. Yesterday I received a note back from Husqvarna & they appear to be {ON MY CASE}. Im hopeful that we can find the problem & move on…

Until then, this project lies on the cutting table, clamped pegged and ready to rumble…

If you have any advice or any ideas on what could be the problem, I welcome them. Ive sewn leather many times before without a problem. Both pieces of leather measure no more than 2mm in thickness – it should be a breeze for my Sapphy 😦

leather_shopper_pausedThanks for stopping by x

pattern review · sewing

{McCalls 4443}

I sewed this dress for a friends wedding celebration. I knew just which fabric I had to use for this dress when I purchased the pattern however I had limited fabric (& time) so I needed to improvise on the way it was constructed. The fabric is a slightly stretchy satin in gorgeous autumnal tones of gold & brown…quite antique looking. I loved the asymmetrical lowered waistline & flirty godet detail.

Due to my lack of fabric, I left the top part unlined (which I would not do again but was necessary on this occasion), and I adjusted the neck & arm areas to suit. I also somehow managed to burn a hole in to the godet however a small scap of fabric, some fabric glue & some pressing sorted this problem out…it also helps the fabric patterning is quite forgiving. Shew!!

On the whole, I really love this dress. The dropped waistline gives an illusion of a longer torso & therefore is quite slimming. It was really easy to sew together & I would highly recommend.

Original review here :