More t-shirt refashions


This was my last hurrah in the repurpose, reuse, refashion month – I took 3 t-shirts and made 4 pairs of undies.

While having an idle wander around the internet I came across this free pattern from indigorchid and thought I’d give it a go. I started with this t-shirt which Bridgette had thrown out and I’d retrieved and, given that it was 100% cotton and just big enough, I thought it would make a perfect candidate for testing the undies pattern.


and here are the resultant undies. I used picot elastic from my mother’s stash and they are very comfy, so I immediately set about making more.


Number two undies came from the leftovers from my ruched dress. Here you can see I was testing one of the pattern pieces on the sleeve.DSC00487

For these undies I modified the indigorchid pattern and wanted to test it. Instead of having a side seam, I have inserted a panel. I did this because the t-shirt for my next refashion was too small to fit the whole width of the pattern. I also decided to test the elasticator in my new overlocker, but I really need to turn the elastic over and finish it off nicely.DSC00495

Versions three and four came from the same t-shirt. This was a Paul Franke t-shirt that I bought for 50c in an op shop for the daughter of a friend who was a real fan. For some reason I didn’t hand the t-shirt over, and the moment passed. In fact, said daughter is now in her 20s, so this t-shirt kicked around in my house for years while I considered what to do with it. I couldn’t bear to throw it out because the cotton knit was really soft and of very high quality, and it was made in England – how often do you see that? DSC00488

Unfortunately, the over printing was slightly age inappropriate for me – this is the front


and this is the back.DSC00490

I felt that the t-shirt was ripe for a refashion and it screamed undies at me. The back became one pairDSC00492

and the front another. In the end I didn’t use my modified pattern, and included a bit of the sleeves in the front and back. If you look carefully at the right hand side of the photo above you can see this.DSC00499

I used fold over elastic that I had bought in Singapore and these undies are the most comfortable that I own. I just hope I don’t fall over or get rushed to hospital when I’m wearing them ;)

My review of the indigorchid pattern:

This pattern is free on the indigorchid website and consists of three pattern pieces. I really like the shape and size of these undies. I was a bit concerned that they would be cut too low for me, but they are perfect and pass the “wedgie” test when I wear them on a vigorous power walk.

If they were cut too low it would be simple to make the sides a little deeper. The leg size is just right and cover me well.

I didn’t inflict a photo of me wearing them on you all, but Mark did offer to take photos. Be grateful that I declined!




Fabric shopping in Singapore




Following on my guides to StockholmHong Kong and Kowloon, I thought I should do one for Singapore, with a few touristy shots thrown in. 

One of the members of Stashbusting Sewalong 2014, Belinda, lives in Singapore and she sent me a couple of pages of very explicit instructions about where to go for fabrics and notions. Belinda had suggested a visit to the People’s Park Complex in Chinatown and I have to say that this was well worth the trip. We walked from our hotel, but Bugis is the nearest MRT. 

There are several aisles of shops here, and frankly, I was a tad overwhelmed (and also thinking about the fact that I was stashbusting)
A couple of Belinda’s favourite stores are NicoleXavier, which I have to say is fabulous, with an amazing selection of high quality fabrics. They were also almost the only fabric store with a door…
Belinda’s other favourite here was Seng Heng Textiles which had the most drool worthy shirting. I found this so hard to resist and spent several happy minutes feeling my way through the fabric. 
Then it was on to an investigation of the notions stores. Belinda recommended two (and I think they may have been almost the only two in the complex) – Lye Nai Shiong and Brighton Accessories. 
I had fun in both stores, but spent money in Brighton Accessories.
They had a good selection of elastic in marvellous colours, and now that I’m home, I wish I had bought more.  Truly, I could have gone mad here!
We then headed to People’s Park Centre where there was a knitting and notions store called the Golden Dragon. I found some yarn that I could have adopted, but then found it was from Tasmania, and as I’m heading there in a couple of weeks, I desisted! I didn’t spend enough time here, but I also didn’t spend money. For some reason I didn’t get photos.

Belinda offered to spend an afternoon shopping; I didn’t need to think twice about that generous offer. I know I have shown a similar photo previously, but we look so darned delighted with ourselves in this one that I thought I needed to share. 


We met on Arab Street, and this was a revelation. I have been to Singapore more times than I can count and yet had never been here. Again I forgot to take photos but it is another whole street of fabric stores. Unbelievable.  
To get there you can take the MRT to Bugis. Walk along Bridge Street, cross Ophir Road and Arab Street is third on the right. According to Belinda, Haji Lane is just before Arab and is full of new designers and their pop up shops. I didn’t visit here, but will next time.
After refreshments we headed to the Textile Centre on Jln Sultan. We had a wonderful time here. I bought some gorgeous elastic for belts, some buttons, zips in a wide array of colours and some other bits and bobs. All in all I had a wonderful afternoon and I was so grateful to Belinda for giving up her time to squire me around. 
Something I haven’t explained is the reason for the trip to Singapore. I wanted a new overlocker with the coverstitch function, and was told that I could buy it for a lot less in Singapore. When I rang the shop in Singapore, I discovered that the cost was almost exactly half and the savings funded our holiday. I bought the overlocker at a tiny shop in Clementi 3, and what an amazing shop it was. 
The staff were wonderful – friendly and efficient. They were ready for us and ensured that the machine was in perfect working order.
On the way from the MRT I had noticed several small stalls of fabric, much of which seemed to be really cheap. I didn’t indulge though, but it is worth noting that they are there.
One of the things that had worried me was how to get the overlocker home. We hadborrowed son Archie’s snowboarding suitcase because it’s deep and we figured that it would be adequate for the task. The overlocker was packed in foam and two cardboard boxes. We removed the boxes and found that the foam packaging fitted exactly into the case but we couldn’t close the lid. Hmmm. Mark went off and bought a hacksaw blade and took to the packaging.
At the end of this procedure it fitted perfectly. I was able to put a few things around it and the suitcase weighed 19.7 kgs, 300grams under my allowance – phew!
This is turning into a long post, but here are a few photos of some of my favourite sights in Singapore – I love the coloured shutters on some of the old buildings.
the flowers in Chinatown again
DSC00358 DSC00357
This is the new Parkroyal on Pickering. It is a lovely modern building. DSC00355   
 And a few more photos around Marina Bay and Gardens by the Bay.
DSC00397DSC00412 DSC00400 DSC00429  DSC00450
Thank you for reading this post, and if you’ve never been to Singapore I hope you can get there sometime – it is such a wonderful, clean and safe city.






Tie-dyed Bronte refashion


This is a skirt that I’ve had hanging around for a long time which I no longer wear but couldn’t quite bring myself to throw away. It doesn’t look it, but it is far too big for me and falls down if I walk too vigorously. It was ripe for a refashion.DSC00123

I would have said that I wasn’t a fan of the tie dying (been there, done that back in the ’60s, but when I looked at this skirt, some of the patterns were quite lovely.

The fabric is cotton with a smidge of spandex


I pulled the skirt apart and it was basically two skirts, one inside the other and held together with a waistband. I started unpicking it and decided that that was too tedious for words so just cut it apart.

DSC00125The bigger pieces were on the inside skirt but the tie-dying wasn’t nearly as nice so I was really conflicted. I wanted a tie-dyed flower on the front of my top, so I decided that I would have a shorter over top with another top underneath. This also meant that I didn’t risk having see through bits as the cotton knit is quite fine.

I laid out my pieces, futzed about trying to get the pattern pieces to fit on and attempted to get things looking symmetrical but the fabric wasn’t symmetrical so I had to just go with the flow a bit.


Because I was making a Bronte and in the spirt of Reuse, Refashion and Repurpose month, I burrowed around in my fabric scraps and came up with this bit of leftover from this top to make the contrasting bands. I simply used the wrong side as the contrast.


I had originally thought that I would have the inside and outside of the top as separate entities and I envisioned having the top a bit floatier than the Bronte pattern, but the sewing goddesses were not smiling on me and I had to sew it all together.

This was a perfect top for my trip to the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore.

DSC00438On our last day we visited the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest. Both were absolutely beautiful. The purple shoes don’t go but I had acquired blisters from my sandals so these were a complete necessity.


I also wore my Casual Sweet Clothes Shorts (pattern M), but took the bow belt out and substituted a thrifted vintage-style sequinned stretchy belt which I think looks better.DSC00396


Some of the doorways were interestingDSC00464

Of course there were more bridges to walk across but I wasn’t at all fazed by this one for some reasonDSC00452

Here is a view of the  skywalk/bridge from underneath.DSC00443

I do love a waterfall. It was very cool in this garden (the Cloud Forest) and being covered in spray made me want a fleece to wear!DSC00441

Of course Singapore isn’t Singapore without the odd magnificent orchid or twoDSC00438

and this doorway is carved from a lychee root – amazing.DSC00462 Up high looking slightly less relaxed – the hands are a giveaway!DSC00454

Yep, this is a real orchidDSC00436

The whole of this garden was filled with flowers and beautiful plants from around the world. The Australian garden was wonderful.DSC00434

Details: Bronte top by Jennifer Lauren Vintage made from a recycled skirt. Shorts are Casual Sweet Clothes pattern M, worn here with a thrifted belt. Nike Free shoes. Mark has on his linen trousers, and linen shirt. Setting is Gardens by the Bay, Flower Dome and Cloud Forest.

Although we are now home, this is not my last post on Singapore – I will be doing a fabric shopping post with some touristy photographs thrown in. Stay tuned!


1960s wrap dress


Well, to be precise, it’s a three armhole wrap dress made from a 1960s pattern that I bought at Circa Vintage – Butterick 4699.

3 armhole dress


The pattern that I bought was quite small so I had to grade it up. I made a muslin (gasp!) from an old bedsheet to check my sizing, and although it looked really ugly on Doris the dummy (she looked like she was in a hospital gown), I decided to go with it.

I made it to wear over my bathers/swimsuit when visiting the pool in Singapore. I used some 100% cotton knit which I bought on sale at Knitwit, which likes to be creased, so this makes it the perfect travelling fabric as far as I am concerned. However, I decided to wear it out and about because it was so comfortable.DSC00233

My only comment about this dress is that it has 6 metres of binding for the dress edges and armholes. That is a lot of binding! I just cut a couple of strips on the grain and sewed it on, but next time I will be cutting it on the bias to make it more of a feature (yes, I have more of this fabric in other colourways and will make more of these dresses). I also made this one about two inches too long and had to use the belt to hitch it up a bit. I am too short to have dresses sitting below the knee.


I decided to wear it to visit Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. What a place! It was really humid and the dress was the perfect thing to wear.

Here I am at the top of the skywalk. We took the stairs and I was busy freaking out, threatening divorce if Mark made me walk across the bridge – although I must say I look relatively cheerful but I was feeling the fear. He kept reminding me that I had done worse, and I have, but I don’t like being up high when I’m not in control.


Here I am having made it across the bridge – it was the thought of wasting the $5 admission price that made me do it! I decided to do the walk without looking down. Or up. Or sideways.


Pretty spectacular hey? The three towers with the “ship” on the top in the background is the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. This is a landmark which seemed to follow us everywhere. It is an amazing feat of engineering.

Mark felt that he hadn’t seen enough of the view because he’d been busy looking after me so ventured back over the bridge – here are some photos of him disappearing into the distance. Brace yourselves, there are bulk photos coming!




Down on terra firma, here is the view looking up at the skywalk – it’s high and longer than I would wish!


How magnificent are the flower towers? They support the bridge with little wires – seriously, the bridge is just suspended and has a bit of movement.

There are acres and acres of gardens, and there is a flower dome that was just too busy for us to visit, so we will head back before we leave Singapore. This was the last day of the flower festival so everyone was there buying their orchids, and queuing at the restaurants. There must have been thousands of people in this park, but it’s such a massive place that we didn’t really see many en masse, except in the queues and on the shuttle buses, which kept appearing out of nowhere to run us down.

Most of this park is free to visit, and we wandered around looking at the dragonflies in the lake – can you spot a big one? It’s in an earlier photo if you missed it.


We then went through the hotel, which is also spectacular. I didn’t take a photograph but it has a canal running through the middle, with punts on it and lots of high end shops. I didn’t really fit in wearing my swimsuit cover up and dodgy hat, but what the hell.



In these photos Mark is wearing new trousers made for the trip from a linen remnant he bought in Colombo, Sri Lanka. They cost a grand total of $6! The shirt is one I made a while ago and blogged hereDSC00244

In summary: the dress is vintage Butterick 4699 made from a striped cotton knit from Knitwit, worn with black leather Torretti sandals I’ve had forever and my Helen Kaminski battered hat.  The leather bow belt is one I’ve had for a while and which I thought lifted the dress from daggy to slightly less daggy (for those of you not from Australia wondering what daggy means – you don’t really want to know, but I suspect you’re all rushing off to Google, so here’s the link you need) Mark’s striped linen shirt is KwikSew 3422 and his trousers are KwikSew 3663.


Casual Sweet Clothes: Shorts


I was in a Perth bookstore and found this book.

Casual Sweet Clothes

Another Japanese sewing book? Yes, I’m in! This one is by Noriko Sasahara and I am totally in love with every single pattern, which is very unusual for me.
I thought I’d begin my exploration with the Shorts, pattern M. I forgot to get a picture from the book before I left for Singapore, so can’t show you what they are supposed to look like. I was a bit worried as they look a bit baggy in the pictures, but the model is clearly a waif and they are not at all baggy on me. Having said that, I clean forgot about adding the seam allowance so have 1/8″ seams, so they might have been more roomy if I’d thought about things a bit more.

Anyway, here they are in action in Orchard Road. Not really appropriate for shopping but comfortable.


My black sandals got wet and slipped about giving me blisters so I had to change into my Nikes. Not the best look… I am also wearing a new Scout t-shirt made from some gorgeous cotton knit I bought in Hong Kong. I was a bit surprised at how much I had and it was only after I cut out the Scout that I remembered that I had bought it to make a Nettie. Oh well, the Scout is quite cool to wear.



As you can see, it’s Singapore’s 49th birthday.

I love Orchard Road; it’s full of little surprises like this park. I decided to give the shorts the bow belt that was in the pattern; I’m not really a bow person and I have to tuck the t-shirt in otherwise I have that “old lady who looks pregnant” look.



Orchard Road also has some amazing shops, here I am pretty grumpy that Cartier had nothing I liked…


Just a quick shot to show you Chinatown in full bloom. How beautiful is this. Mark looks a bit surprised as he’s about to get run over!      DSC00344


Next time I make these shorts I will put pockets in them – even if they are just at the back. When I’m travelling I do miss pockets to put my train ticket in, or my phone, etc.

The details:

Shorts are Pattern M from Sweet Casual Clothes by Noriko Sasahara. I think this book has only just been released in English. The fabric is stretch cotton twill from Knitwit, which I’ve had in my stash for an age. The top is the Scout Tee from Grainline Studios with the sleeves extended a bit to keep the sun off my arms. I think I should probably have graded it down a bit at the hips for the knit version, but it’s ok. Mark is wearing this floral shirt and his new linen trousers, which I haven’t blogged yet. Setting is the beautiful city of Singapore.

Bellini #1



This is the Bellini blouse from Capital Chic Patterns and is the first I’ve made. But it won’t be the last!


I have to say that I  love this blouse and this love is going to be exhibited by showing you a gazillion different views of it. The news of the day was being upgraded to the Presidential Suite at the hotel. So funny, it has so many rooms over two levels that Mark and I kept getting lost. It is also seriously inconvenient, but I’m not whinging about the luxury. Here I am trying to look regal but note that I have left a button undone which tends to ruin the whole effect (not to mention the black feet from where my leather sandals bled all over me when they got wet!).


Gorgeous views are par for the course.DSC00274



I spent a wonderful afternoon pretending to not buy fabric with Belinda from the Stashbusters Anonymous group aka Stashbusting Sewalong 2014. Belinda lives in Singapore and so knows where to go to buy gorgeous things to do with sewing. Here we are generously donating packets of fabric to a shop. We didn’t buy a thing – honest! I just wanted to give you a shot of the blouse in action…


After a wonderful afternoon of making a new friend – and I shall be blogging my Singapore sewing shopping sojourn (ah, the alliteration makes me swoon!), so don’t fret – Mark and I did our evening walk round the water and I managed to get some more shots DSC00281   DSC00293 DSC00294

Aren’t the sleeves gorgeous? The shape of the blouse is really lovely.DSC00299

OK, enough already. I need to say that this blouse is beautifully designed. Every piece fits together perfectly and this was a pretty easy make. I wasn’t sure of the sizing so I was considering this to be a muslin. The whole time I was making it I was thinking that it wasn’t going to fit me, it looked so small, but really it’s a kind of tardis because my body fitted into it no problems at all.

As mentioned earlier, I have plans for a few more of these in my life. I think this style can be casual or a bit more corporate (not that I do corporate any more) and I am looking forward to wearing this particular blouse with lots of things in my wardrobe.

The details are: Bellini blouse from Capital Chic patterns made from a really nice Japanese cotton lawn that I bought on sale at Spotlight (so cheap they were almost paying me to take it away). The buttons are stashbusted and are really nice vintagey ones from Buttonmania in Melbourne. I am wearing it with my self-drafted skirt, which I really made for this trip but then wore beforehand. Setting is Singapore.

I have to give you one more photo. How pretty is Singapore at night?DSC00301


Wool plaid shirt


I bought this lovely pure wool plaid for Mark when we were in Stockholm, but washed it in water that was slightly too warm and it felted a little bit. This didn’t seem to be too much of a problem except that the fabric went out of square and I had to do all kinds of shenanigans to line up those pesky checks.



This is my old favourite pattern, KwikSew 3422, and the only thing I had to do was a join in the back so that I could get the sides to align due to the wonky nature of the fabric. I actually put a pleat in the back but decided to hand stitch it up just before we left for the airport to go to Singapore.DSC00163

DSC00166In a nutshell: Pattern is Kwik Sew 3422, fabric is pure wool check from Tygverket, Stockholm. Pants are the ones I made for him to go to Colombo, Sri Lanka. Location is Perth International Airport, Qantas lounge, this all sounds very cosmopolitan, doesn’t it?

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