Coco double act


I was going to entitle this blog “Two little maids are we” but thought better of it, however we do look rather, er, twinlike! (only in the clothing department!!)



Hot on the heels of Gabby’s Coco top, I made one for myself from the other two scarves that she kindly donated.


I made her wear her top to work so that we could model them together – very cheesy.

We had a lovely time larking about in her shop doing mad poses.

Here is a closeup of my version, which I am thrilled with. This is a top which could take me from work to dinner.


and the back view

DSC09875The details: Pattern is Tilly & The Buttons Coco Top, slightly modified to accommodate the fabric, which is two scarves, made from shirred wool. First two photographs were taken in Gabby’s shop, Heaven Wrapped, Old Theatre Lane, Claremont (interesting to note that I was commissioned to buy a bag that one of my friends saw in the first lot of photos taken in her shop – a great result!)


Reversible jacket number two


When I made my reversible jacket, Bridgette liked it and asked for one too. No second bidding required! I tried to buy the checked fabric but it was sold out, so I bought the same boiled, foiled wool in a herringbone pattern. Bridgette was still happy with that, so all’s well. This is the “evening” side, with the pockets on the inside.


Heidi appeared to approve as well!DSC09849

Back view of the jacket showing the “daytime” side. The jacket is Kwik Sew 3952, and I have combined the longer jacket with sleeves.


The darts are sewn on the outside and it has exposed seams, which makes it an easy jacket to make reversible.DSC09851

Had to show this photo because Heidi is looking pretty adorable!DSC09854

and another one – sorry!

DSC09858Details: Pattern is KwikSew 3952 and the fabric is a reversible boiled, foil wool bought on sale (yay!) at Knitwit, Nedlands. Model and recipient is Bridgette with her favourite prop, Heidi.

1980s jacket refashion



When my friend Thelma gave me a bag of fabric and clothing for refashioning, this multi-coloured suede jacket was among the goodies. Oh my word! This jacket is amazing. It is clearly from the 1980s and it is boxy with very wiiide shoulders.DSC08213

But it’s a work of art – all that piecing together of the suede. How magnificent is it? I knew that I was going to have to treat it with the ultimate respect.DSC08214

I knew that it would have had shoulder pads, but they weren’t there? Had they been cunningly removed. Ah, no. They were lurking down at the hemline having become unglued from their moorings. I had to unpick the hem to remove them. Then I played about with the jacket and decided that all I could probably do would be to reduce the shoulder width and lift the sleeve cap up. Good thinking…



Or not. I unpicked the shoulder seam and the lining and started manoeuvring. Unfortunately it seemed as though I would then have excess fabric in the body of the jacket. Head scratching. I hung the jacket back on its hook and made a gazillion other things whilst I considered my options (one of which was to have it professionally remade!).

Then this week I got it back out and had another look. I unpicked the hem a bit more and turned the jacket inside out, and pinned (with thinnest pins I could find – which are now all bent!) the sleeve up on to the shoulder taking out about three inches of fabric. It looked ok! Still a little wide but I figured if I took it in any more I would be messing with the integrity of the pattern. Here I am halfway through the process and I think it’s pretty obvious which shoulder I have modified. It is pleasing that the sleeves are now the correct length for my arms!


and the back view

DSC09861Flushed with success, I did the second sleeve and this just didn’t go as neatly. I tried to match the symmetry of the other side, but it really is a case of near enough is good enough.


I did run the sleeves in a tiny bit, but again, I worried about ruining the balance of the pattern, so they are a bit baggier than I would perhaps like.


I feel as though it would still benefit from very light shoulder pads and I may insert a couple further down the track (probably won’t!!).


But if I move about you don’t notice it too much!DSC09869

Just on another note, I’ve teamed the jacket with my refashioned skirt (also kindly donated by Thelma). I decided to make it its own belt, which I fashioned from elastic purchased in Hong Kong with a 1930s shoe buckle doing duty as a belt buckle.

Before I finish the post, I have to mention the silk lining of this jacket. It is exquisite and appears to be some sort of Picasso print (I think). Anyway, another reason to tread carefully rather than do a full blown refashion.


Sooo, it is clearly refashioning fortnight here at Chez Fadanista. I don’t think I’m setting the world on fire, more like tinkering than refashioning, but I’m feeling pretty happy.

The details:

Jacket is unlabelled, but was clearly a handcrafted item from the 1980s. When I took it apart I could see each piece was numbered (forgot to photograph). It is still pretty boxy, but within acceptable limits for 2014.

Dress is my recycled skirt, paired with a belt made from a piece of elastic and a vintage buckle.

Top is my boring orange top made from fine merino.

Boots are Progetto Glam from Marie Claire in Claremont

Thelma: I hope you are as pleased as I am with what I did with this – your generosity still astounds me!





Two scarves make a Coco


The lovely Gabrielle who owns the shop Heaven Wrapped gave me four scarves a while ago to make a top for her and a top for me. Terrifying! They are pure wool, shirred and quite fine and I wasn’t sure how they would make up. DSC09837The label said Dry Clean Only, and how can you have a top which you can’t launder? So I decided to give them a quick wash to eliminate the possibility of shrinkage or colours running. There didn’t seem to be any issues, and I was totally impressed with how quickly they dried, so I thought about what I was going to make with them. I didn’t want to cut the fabric so I spent hours draping and futzing about. DSC09826

I had a notion that I could get a yoke and sleeves in one piece (with a hole for the head) from one scarf and a body doubled over highlighting the fringing. DSC09827Probably looks ok on Doris the dummy (actually, no, it doesn’t) but I knew that it was going to be difficult to pull off. When I laid the fabric along the back of the sofa I could see that the pattern was strong and that I would need to do some matching.DSC09842

I was pulling patterns out of boxes, trying to jigsaw them onto the rather narrow piece of fabric. I pinned the Grainline Scout Tee onto the fabric and went for a walk. I knew that I wanted the frilly edges to be retained, and I thought that the neckline would be difficult on the Scout. Enter the Coco! The appeal of the Coco is the highish boat neck which meant that I might be able to keep the frill around the neck. Appealing. BUT, I have never seen a scout in anything but a fairly firm knit. How would it go in a really light, flimsy fabric? Another walk. I pinned on the pattern. Had a cup of tea. Looked for reassurance from Mark (hmmph!) then I thought about the Hermes scarf that I cut up and that worked ok. Deep breath then, got out the scissors and began cutting, trying not to think that each scarf sells for $70 and I needed two per top. Having messed around with these scarves for weeks, the top came together in a couple of hours (took longer because I kept sewing the French seams the wrong way – not concentrating). I was quite pleased with the result, but what would Gabrielle think? I nervously rocked up to her shop and delivered it. We had her stripped off and dressed in the top in a few minutes. Her reaction was a delight! IMG_0836Front view – check IMG_0830Back view – check IMG_0832And then such excitement! IMG_0839

I generally don’t like making things for other people, but I would make anything for Gabby after this reaction. She truly was thrilled and kept saying that the top would be a lovely reminder of her shop when she eventually closes it down (sob!). IMG_0838The details: Pattern is Tilly and the Buttons Coco top with the neckline altered to take advantage of the edge frill on the fabric. Fabric is two scarves from Heaven Wrapped in Claremont. Model, benefactor and recipient is Gabrielle.

Matching flannos


DSC09779When I got home from all my travels, the first thing I made was another flannel shirt for Tom, as he was about to go camping. Bridgette, his partner, asked (jokingly, I think!) whether I could make Heidi, their puppy, a matching flanno. Er, not too good at pet clothes, but I did offer to make her a matching bandanna. DSC09784Pretty cute huh? Even if I say so myself (Heidi, not Tom!) DSC09777The shirt is my old fave, Kwik Sew 3422, which I can do with my eyes shut (just about). I did this one in 5 hours, beating my previous personal best (not that I’m competitive or anything :) ). I had the usual issue of the checks being off grain, but I cut each piece out separately and managed a pretty good job of the pattern matching.DSC09778You’ll note that Heidi is growing – she is going to be a monster, I think. I’d rather keep her for a week than a fortnight! Tom was totally thrilled with this shirt. I left his on his doorstep when I went for a walk, and he put it straight on and called me round for photos – be still my beating heart! DSC09776The details: Pattern is KwikSew 3422, fabric is flannelette from Homecraft Textiles. Buttons are from my stash. Models are Tom and Heidi, the pup.

Recycled skirt take two


I accidentally published this post a couple of days ago and then had to delete it because it was incomplete, so this is my second attempt. Apologies!

This was a skirt given to me by my friend Thelma. This is what it looked like when it was donated last year (being modelled in a paddock at Margaret River for those of you who are interested). I took it camping back in January so that I could unpick it and think about what I might make from it.

DSC07053…and the back view. My own dog has no interest in being in photographs, but Asher, who belongs to Tessa, my stepdaughter,  was shadowing me all day.

DSC07055Interesting pleat at the knees, no? I could put my lunch in there! The fabric however is gorgeous and I love the subtle blue print, so I decided it wanted to be a pinafore dress. The problem was that I didn’t have a suitable pattern, so did a bit of self-drafting. I cut the skirt off at the required length, leaving the hem and side split in situ. Then I cut out a bodice and joined the two together. The skirt was quite a bit too big, and I didn’t cut it down too much as I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to get the dress on if it was too fitted. However, I think I might just take it in a bit, having looked at the photographs.

I used a bit of the middle section which was surplus to requirements as binding for the neck and armholes.


You may be able to see the pocket – that was actually the piece cut from the neckline at the front and I couldn’t bear to waste it so hemmed it and sewed it on to the side.

The top is made from fabric also donated by Thelma and I made the dress with this top in mind.DSC09833

Not sure why my tights look so weird – they are quite shiny and I think I have a strange reflection. I also don’t like the boots, on reflection, so will need to explore some different shoes to wear with the dress.DSC09835

The details:

Pattern for dress is self-drafted, fabric is from a recycled skirt donated by my friend, Thelma. Top is Vogue 8793 from fabric also gifted to me by Thelma. Belt was a gift from my friend Sophie. Boots are PK from Soletta Shoes, Mt Hawthorn.






Miette cardigan


This is my second Miette cardigan, knitted from wool I bought from Litet nystan in Stockholm (and finished with buttons from Hong Kong). This is fabulous wool, soft and easy to knit. It is Alta Moda Alpaca – baby Alpaca.


I extended the length by two pattern repeats and also added several inches to the sleeves to make them full length. For those of you new to the Miette, it is knitted in one piece – no seaming required – yay, BUT, when doing the sleeves the use of a single circular needle can prove tricky. Some people use double pointed needles, but I hate them, so I use two circular needles and this works brilliantly for me.


Most of the cardigan was knitted on long plane flights – I began it on the way home from Sweden and finished it in Hong Kong, with a bit knitted in the car going to and from work. By the end of the project there is a whole cardigan hanging off the needles!


After my little sojourn in Hong Kong I had many buttons to choose from and struggled to decide which to use. Which ones would you choose? I got all conservative and chose the one third from the left, but I may still change them.


One of the things that I am quite bad at is picking stitches up evenly, so I divided the neckline into four and only had to juggle a quarter of the stitches at a time. This worked really well and I’m sure you all do it, but just thought I’d mention it…


This was a lovely project and I enjoyed making it, and wearing it even more.

Details: Miette cardigan from baby Alpaca, buttons from Hong Kong, teamed with Gabriola skirt. The setting is the Mt Eliza lookout in Kings Park and the treetop walk, also in Kings Park, Perth.


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