Thursday, January 31, 2008

Yo-Yo's and Gourmet Pies

I have made my first yo-yo. I decided to make a home for my sewing scissors. So after finding and preparing the tin, I got out the felt, lined the base, then cut, glued and the rest is history....Although after doing this I decided I should start a little collection of vintage flower buttons.. I have a few, but not quite enough...what an excuse.

My absolute favourite buttons are Mother of Pearl which I try to use on everything!!!!. and maybe I need some more?

So now I have a SCISSOR POT.

I saw this little rosette on a website and I presume it is a set of yo-yo's so I might give it a go one day soon.....

After indulging in so much time wasting for myself, I thought I should treat my dear husband to one of his all time favourite foods. Home made Gourmet meat-pies...
I never follow a recipe, unless it is cakes and biscuits. So I just browsed through the spice drawer and popped a bit of this and that into the mix, lots of Gravy mix and home-made Tomato sauce.
The kids love watching the pastry get cut out, I think that is why I find them asking for round sandwiches. They have such creative thinking and when I say " I cannot cut a round sandwich!". They get the pie making cutter and shake it at me like I am utterly daft."Yeah, with this!"
So here are my yummy pies.

A few months ago, whilst tossing around ideas of selling my childrenswear, I bought a new pattern drafting book, just for children. It is absolutely loaded with valuable information and will be very useful when I alter or design patterns. I am keen to design and make all my own things.
I have long admired things that friends have bought from City markets only to discover that some of these dresses and tops are actually made in China. How do you know what is really custom or handmade anymore???

Does everyone have one of these bobbin holders? They are worth their weight in gold, especially when little people are about....
As for the Heather Bailey, I still cant decide what to do. Not the standard shift dress that is about, something a bit more funky... More homework is needed before I cut into this one..

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

More Pattern Books & more sewing

I got 2 new Japanese sewing books today.
Koharu no fuku and Girly Style Wardrobe.
Girly Style Wardrobe appears to be every bit as good as I had expected and I am eagerly trying to decide which one to sew first...... I won't pass judgement on the other one yet, but so far I only have the urge to make 1 particular item in it..
* But today I finished the skirt out of this book.

I used a quilting fabric, that had a herringbone texture to it, it was like brushed cotton. really nice, will be very transeasonal.

The skirt took no time to whip up, Miss4.5 was very excited and quickly popped it on and asked if she could pose for another photo... How could I refuse. Here is the finished outfit.
The fabric was just beautiful to sew and I am sure once I steal it and wash it in the cover of darkness it will come up beautifully.
I am really happy with all the sewing from my Japanese pattern books so far. I now have 4 books in total.
I have to cut out a 2 dresses yet and Miss6 is starting to complain about the lack of modelling opportunities. It is funny how I find it hard to get the required inspiration for mundane domestic duties, but just a few quick glamour shots are no problem. It must paint a very weird picture of me cruising around the house like some famous freelance photographer.. Whatever gets you motivated

Monday, January 28, 2008


What is rousabout?

As an australian, a rousabout is the person who works in the woolshed at shearing time. They pick up and clean up after the shearers ( in basic terms).

They go flat out, sorting, cleaning, picking up, tossing fleeces, getting in more sheep etc.

I think that mothers are just a domestic rousabout. They go like crazy all day, cleaning and picking up just so the place can look the same as it did that morning.

So when I decided to give my sewn items a label, I thought long and hard of a name that was undoubtedly australian yet related to my bustling lifestyle as a mother.
When I first began sewing labelled garments, I made very traditional things, like Rugby tops, collared shirts, peasant tops and tiered skirts. While I still like the appeal of those Aussie Classic styles, I have an addiction for Euro childrens fashion. Namely the french labels Jean Bourget and Cakewalk from the Netherlands. I love simplicity and have now moved towards the Japanese sewing books, and I am currently going crazy collecting them. Move over Ottobre there are some new books on the shelf..

Sometimes I browse through etsy and see some gorgeous cutesy names,(fruit+colour+animal etc.) but I have a squillion little woven labels and couldn't waste them just on a whim for a more contemporary name. So ROUSABOUT it is.

I will let my product do the talking. ( Once I figure out just how to market it and where?)

These are some shots of my new sewing room. We just built a new house and I have my very own dedicated sewing room, with benches all way round and a built-in robe for all my fabric and mags etc. I still need more shelving so that inspiration is only at a glance, but I am getting there. I have a Memorycraft 10000, which I should sew with more often, But my trusty 4000 never lets me down...
I have a flip out ironing board and a big window for plenty of sky views. What more could a woman want??I know, more time to sew.....YES

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Japanese Pattern Drafting

Today I covered new territory, I drafted off my first Japanese pattern, ok about 4 really.
Once I got the pattern sheet out I found the pieces quite easily.
I am starting with this set, top a and skirt b.

I worked out the easiest way to draft the pattern succesfully and I hope it will lead to much less frustration when cutting or piecing.

*Firstly look at the cutting layout picture for the garment and add the seam allowances and hem allowances according to the diagram. The little 3 inside the hemline meant add 3 centimetres, so I having done this , I marked it on the pattern.
I have also worked out the symbols that mean front and back.
I have been reading that a lot of people use paper to draft off patterns, I always buy a roll of cheap interfacing to use for patterns. You dont need to pin it onto the fabric as it stays put once in position. It doesnt tear, you can fold it up or roll it up. I like to store my patterns in a snap lock bag with the details written on the front in texta. If I get my act together I will scan the pattern info from the mag or book and put it into the bag also, saves wear and tear on the book.....
Just this morning I have stumbled across this great step by step post that covers everything I have just done and was about to say.... look here first!!!Thought and thimble
O.k. Here is the pictures of top 'a' from my first Japanese sewing book Onnanoko no Oyoufuku Camisole Kara Kichinto Fuku Made ....

My little Miss4 was wrapt and asked whilst posing for the pics, "can I play with this on now?". Its always nice to be appreciated!!!

I made the size 110 and it fits really well, It was easy to put together, the worst part was deciding which buttons looked best. Onward to the next item.....I am already thinking which books I need next.. I did really love the "My favourite Style" book for myself..

Friday, January 25, 2008

Beach holiday and Japanese sewing books

I have just returned home from our family holiday, only to find my parcel in the post from Yesasia..Yippee ( That was super fast delivery I must say!!!)

We had a great time at the beach, I do have sunburnt knees and after much thought as to why, I realise that every time my little boy would put his sandy, wet hands on my knees, I would rub it off. alas red knees.

Longbeach in Robe - South Australia...

We had a great time and I had great intentions of taking photographs of the girls in their Rousabout beach dresses, but it was togs or here is a picture of them on the hangers, they look gorgeous on....

Back to the sewing, I have just browsed though my new Japanese sewing books from Yesasia, and yes I should be drafting off patterns, but I got sidetracked ,looking at blogs with great info regarding the seam allowances etc.There is a great spot to get great info at Moving Hands, she has a link to a great download file about understanding the language in the patterns etc, although so far the pictures seem pretty comprehensive. I have been sewing Topkids magazine patterns for years, and the Ottobre books, honestly sometimes I think no written instructions would be easier...

Here is the first book (isbn 4529044378) which I believe is called Cute girls cute clothes? Although my invoice read -

This is my favourite page in the whole book.
Pure eye candy and inspiration........

I spent most of the morning (between washing all the beach towels and bags full of dirty holiday laundry) perusing my new books. I have been eagerly waiting for this one in particular... I have decided that tommorrow is the day, I will unclip that pattern sheet and start drafting... The ones I want to try are very basic looking so I will see how they go together.

I did just finish sewing a little 'japanese inspired blouse' out of the latest Ottobre magazine but Miss 6 decided she didnt like it....( It wasnt purple!@!), I shall try take a pic and post it soon....

Just downing a coffee, I will pop a few shots of my sewing on here...

A set for Miss6 I embellished the bought T-Shirt to match the wrap skirt, You are actually looking at the back with the bum pocket. I used Kings Road 'Belle Fleur Too' fabric and a bit of a Hamphire Gardens (the black floral). It looks great, I should make more only finding good quality T-Shirts is really hard. Any hints?????

A gored skirt I made a few years ago from whale cord, It has recieved so many comments in its time. I used no pattern, just made it up as I went.

Some little shoulder bags I made for the girls, One lined with Purple and one with Pink... that way any arguments could be quickly resolved as to just who has who's bag....The Purple for Georgia and Pink for Paige has proved such a winner system in our house, that everyone knows who owns the purple towel or the pink drink bottle.

Tommorrow I shall aim to find some spare time in amidst getting ready for back to school next week, and I will draft and sew, (hopefully lots!!!! :)
I need to work out how to add links to peoples blogs in amongst this text, I have a stack of great sites saved in my favourites and I have found most of them through other people kindly sharing them. I would love to return the favour...

Friday, January 18, 2008

my blogging debut

Pleased to meet you..
After much thought and trepidation I have begun the journey and responsibilty of my very own blog. I hope I can produce some fabulous links, photos and information that people will enjoy, just as I have learnt so much from surfing through some of the most fantastic and inspirational blogs ever....
It feels strange typing messages to the unknown, but I will see how it goes.

My name is Jo and I am a stay at home mother of 3 children, we have our own earthmoving business ( my husband and I) so that keeps us all busy. We have just finished building a new home and are busy landscaping (though it is quicker with a bobcat!).
In between all these other duties I have a passion for fine fabric, fashion & quality stitching.
I have sewn ever since my feet could reach the pedal. Busy whipping up anything I could find inspiration from in Mums Fabric stash, which I remember thinking was the most magical bottomless box ever.
Since having children, I have really used my sewing as my sanctuary, My husband bought me a new Memorycraft 10000, I am sure he could see the hours I was going to be spending inside now. I have built up quite a collection of sewing machines including my newest edition the Janome CoverPro. I love my Janome's. I have 4.
I am the proud owner of a fabric stash that even my mother shakes her head at as though I've done something terribly taboo. ( although I have seen pics posted that make my stash look like a scrap bag. I will take a shot and post it soon.
I now design a lot of my own patterns, and send my 2 little girls off in their rousabout dresses almost every day.
I am awaiting my first order of Japanese sewing books from Yesasia and I am itching to start sewing some lovely things. They have great classic styles just delicious.....
Time for a coffee. It looks like the drought has broken I can hardly hear my typing over the rain and thunder....looks like all the drought tolerant plants we put in might drown....go figure.
Heres a shot of my husbands idea of Power gardening...........