Blue and green should never be seen…


…except for with a nose in between – or so went the rather thrilling ditty we all used to recite when I was in my early teens (although I googled this and it actually should say “except for with a colour in between”, not nearly as exciting! Well, I quite like blue and green together, with or without the nose or another colour, and I especially like green spots!

The photos were taken in the very early morning (note the street light is still on), so are a bit dark, my apologies.


This is Butterick 5942 out of my very own stash (carefully preserved by my mother).

Butterick 5942

I would have last made this dress in my teens and I’m happy to report that it still fits me – although it is perhaps a trifle more snug!


The pattern is known as 1960s Mod, and is an A-line dress with shaping under the bust. It is top stitched on the top of the skirt section and down the front centre seam. The top stitching goes round the back meeting at the zip, just visible here.



I worked hard to match the dots and did well on the bodice, but as you can see, I didn’t do a fabulous job on the skirt back.

I bought the fabric for a particular purpose, but have had it so long I no longer know what that purpose is. I was surprised at how little I had, so had to work hard to fit the pattern on. The fabric is a thick cotton and linen mixture and is perfect for autumn and winter weather.



The sleeves are supposed to have zips inserted at the cuffs. I went through my stash but couldn’t find matching zips, so simply left the cuffs unstitched a la my 1940 dress.


If I make this dress again I will ditch the neck facings in favour of a bias finish, and I will lower the front neck a centimetre or two – I feel that it is a little high. Next time I might also finish the cuffs with buttons or maybe have exposed zips, and I noted (after I had done it) that the topstitching is supposed to be 2.5cms away from the seam lines. I did my usual and lined it up with the edge of the foot. My Bernina does not enjoy top stitching, and I couldn’t be bothered getting out the Elna Lotus (it has a permanent spot usually which is covered in fabric at the moment!), so I simply doubled up two green threads and the Bernina didn’t freak out at all – go figure!

To the details: the pattern is Butterick 5942 from the 1960s. It is a semi-fitted A-line dress in 2 lengths, has a fitted bodice with princess seaming and interesting seam detail. It has both short and full length sleeves with zipper closing, and includes an optional bias stand collar, ribbon and top-stitch trim.

The fabric is a cotton/linen blend from Calico and Ivy, and fabric and all notions were stashbusted.

And I definitely need some blue winter shoes!



Properly vintage



I made this dress as part of my vintage pledge. The pattern is Advance 3738



This is absolutely the sort of vintage styling that I love, but I really struggled to find fabric in my stash to make it. Firstly, it takes a bit of fabric, and secondly I really wanted a long sleeved winter version.  I thought I would make a wearable muslin to test it out as I wasn’t convinced about the sizing.

First of all I made a basic toile of the bodice, established that the darts were at the right position and that the bodice was about 4cm too short. I duly added 4cm to the pattern and then set about finding the fabric for the wearable muslin. I desperately wanted to make it from green gingham – as I’ve said before, I’m highly suggestible! However, I found this navy and white spot in my stash and I was set. The fabric has the dots woven into it rather than printed on it, so I felt that this was a nod to the way things were done way back when. I also remember, as a child, having a dress made out of a pale blue version of this fabric (with my doll having a matching dress), so I felt a sense of nostalgia.

The fabric came from The Fabric Cave in Sydney and cost the grand total of $3. My sort of pricing!

The pattern harks back to 1940 and is basically tissue paper with no markings – just various sized dots to give clues as to construction. This works really well, I have to say.

Once I put the muslin together, I had to drop the darts by 3cms and remove 3cms from the length of the bodice. I am not sure what was going on with the other muslin! The dress also has shoulder pads, which I neatly made, padded and inserted


but found that they disrupted the fit too much. I thought they were needed to get the right silhouette, but didn’t like them at all, so they are now gone.

My only issue with the dress is the weather – it’s been too hot to wear it, and I have taken a risk with it just so that I can get it blogged. However, today was mildly cooler so I wrangled my way into it – those girls in the ’40s must have had small heads!


The pattern is suitably interesting. It has a slit in the neck (to get aforementioned head through) with a bias detail running round the front, completed by the bow. The bodice has a small amount of gathering on either side at the bottom, and the skirt front is heavily gathered for about 3cms on either side of a centre pleat. The sleeves have three elbow darts giving them a lovely shape. There is a zip in the side seam and the only way I could get it in neatly was to hand sew it in. The dress is belted and I used a small silver buckle from my Mum’s stash to finish it off.


The back is simpler, the skirt has two side panels cut on the cross to give it some shape.

The tree that I am standing in front of is a 700 year old giant Boab (Gija Jumulu) tree that was gifted to the local Noongar (Aboriginal) people by the Indigenous people of the far North-West of Western Australia. It was transported 3000 kms on the back of a truck. What an amazing feat!

This dress is the third of my vintage pattern challenge, and is the oldest pattern. This photo shows the front gathering a bit better. I now have plans to make a couple more of these. I might leave off the bow and make the belt a little wider. I actually have some nice soft wool herringbone that I think will be brilliant.


So the details: The pattern is Advance 3738 bought from Emsewcrazy’s Etsy site, the fabric is from The Fabric Cave, and my shoes are Letizia from Letizia in Claremont. I do feel a pair of navy blue pumps coming on!


On another note, I have decided to once again participate in Me Made May and here is my pledge:

 ‘I, Sue of Fadanista.com, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’14. I endeavour to wear at least one item hand made by me each day for the duration of May 2014′

And now for something completely different*


Well, I’ve knitted a bag, a hot pink bag!


But this is a bag with a difference – because when it’s opened up, it becomes – tada!


Yes, it’s a doll’s (or in this case, a teddy’s) crib. Needless to say, this is not for me or one of mine, but is for a friend’s little granddaughter.

Teddy gets his own bedding


and the pillow is even stuffed!




This was a great stashbusting project. I used all my pink wool (ran out on the hood, can you tell?DSC08207 The yellow and navy wool came from my Mother’s stash. The teddy was contributed by my friend. We hunted the toyshops for a 5 inch doll to fit, but there is dearth of baby dolls of that size.

The pattern is free on Ravelry http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cradle-bag-2, and is designed by Frankie Brown. Isn’t it cute?


* Thanks to Monty Python for the title of this post.



After my pretty good pattern matching with the first flannel shirt I made, I embarked on a second shirt for my son, Tom, with some gusto. However, at some point my brain left the building and my only memory of cutting out the shirt was that it seemed so easy compared with the first one. Well, yes, it was really easy because for some reason I didn’t think about pattern matching at all!

I was so upset (and ashamed of myself) that I couldn’t look at it for a couple of days, and considered binning it. Then I got a grip and thought that all Tom will use it for is gardening or camping or boy stuff like painting, so I got on with it. I then considered not ‘fessing up to my ineptitude, but in the interests of ethical blogging, I thought I’d better. So brace yourself, dear reader, here it is in all it’s disgraceful non-pattern matching.


I did manage to match the pocket!


Look at the side seams (hanging head here)


On the yoke I (almost) got one line to line up!

However, the inside of this shirt is a thing of beauty. Every seam is neatly flat felled, so it wasn’t a dead loss sewing wise.

In terms of the details, I used KwikSew 3422, with some flannel fabric and buttons from my stash (which is the one win in this project).

I have four more pieces of flannel for shirts, let us hope that I do a bit better with them.



The first flanno*


When I was busy churning out shirts for my husband and sons over the summer, they put in an order for flannos (Australian slang for flannel shirts) and this is the first.


It is my usual KwikSew 3422, nothing changed, just endless pattern matching.

If I say so myself, I did a great job of the pattern matching – can you spot the pocket above?


Yoke matched, check. Collar – ack, what happened? I don’t think Mark took enough care putting on the shirt – so it’s all his fault!

Sleeves, check. Cuffs, er, well one is perfect and the other one isn’t. I made several cuffs and just could not make the other one work, so gave up.


However, all side seams are lined up nicely and flat felled. Pattern matching looks a bit off in this photo, but it is perfect on the right side.


I bought 18 metres of flannelette in various shades and checks, and I have to say that I was a tad disappointed with the quality. There are splotchy bits where the dye hasn’t been applied properly and some of the edges looked a bit chewed. My memory is that the fabric came from Turkey and is 100% cotton with no formaldehyde that I could smell, so I’m not too bothered with the poor dye job. It looks ok and at the end of the day will be used as a camping shirt, so it’s not as though Mark is going to wear it to the day job.

Right, 3 metres down, 15 to go!


PS if you are revisiting this page you will note the title change. I apparently had the wrong slang word for a flannel shirt!



Long Gabriola skirt


DSC08149This is the first of the Gabriolas that I made, and it seemed to come together more easily than the second, even with the stripe matching. I have to say that there is a lot of fabric in this, but not as much as the pattern stated. Out of the 3.2 metres I bought, I have nearly a metre left! Having said that, my fabric was very wide, which meant that I could get the majority of the skirt out of two lengths and then fit the yokes in between.

I followed the instructions for grading the pattern, going from an 8 at the waist down to zero for the hips (I’m actually sub-zero in the hips – always wanted to say that!). However, I finished up taking in 6cms from the waist after I made the skirt, so it might be that my grading wasn’t too good. I note here that the upper yoke seems to be pulling and yet skirt is so loose that it swings around during the day, so not sure whether it’s dodgy sewing or dodgy fitting – or it might even be dodgy posing!*


I am supposed to be stashbusting but didn’t think that I had fabric of a suitable weight and length to make this skirt, so bought this at Global Fabrics in Auckland. I was slightly disappointed with my choice, the sludgy colour and rather bland look of the fabric, but I was trying to choose something that would be easy to match with tops, and I was desperate to have those chevrons, and also Tasia’s striped version influenced me – I am so suggestible! As it is, you can’t even see the stripes, so that was a complete waste!


I do think, though, that this will be a great skirt for autumn and winter. I see it with thick stockings and boots and a fitted sweater or a short jacket.

Did I do much unpicking? Well of course! Firstly I had to match all those stripes, then I did manage to put a couple of the yokes on upside down – so careless sometimes. Then I made it too long, and for some reason I never cut hems down to a suitable depth – perhaps I’m expecting a growth spurt??

I thought I’d try the skirt with a different look and it works ok too… In fact I like it better with the belt I think.


As is becoming common for me, I’m sitting at the airport writing this post – off to Canberra this time, so no sewing until the weekend :(



Gabriola skirt from Sewaholic, made from striped cotton fabric from Global Fabrics in Auckland. Paired here with my Miette cardigan.

*I’ve worked out what the pulling is. I think it is where I took in the waist and managed to take even more off the hips. Luckily, I didn’t cut the seam allowance, so can fiddle about with it.










My first Coco


I have been admiring all the Cocos being shown off in blogland, but I think the ones that tipped the balance for me were those by Did you make that? Karen has made a heap of Cocos and they are all divine, so I finally bit the bullet and bought the PDF version of the pattern, and then did nothing with it! I thought I was going to need to buy fabric and I’m trying so hard to be good, but then I found this fabric in my stash, and all was finally well!


This is a reversible double knit, (same fabric, different colour, previously used on my shingle dress). I bought this piece as a remnant and was really hoping to get the Coco dress out of it but it was such a teeny tiny piece of fabric that I didn’t have a hope, so I made the top version. You will note the contrast bands in the sleeves – these are because I couldn’t get full length sleeves in one piece out of the fabric, so I cobbled them together. I think it looks like a deliberate design feature, don’t you?


This should have been a quick and easy make, but working out where to put the contrast bands and then having to do stripe matching, dragged it all out. Next one will be something with no pattern matching and no fabric shortage issues! Looking at the photos I may have misplaced the pocket a bit – I think I was trying to align it with the contrast bit in the sleeves, but it looks a bit odd. I may have to tweak this.

The photos were taken at the Matilda Bay Reserve and I have not noticed this Aboriginal information before. How lovely is this?



For those of you not from Australia, the Aboriginal culture is the oldest living culture in the world, dating back more than 60,000 years. There are at least 250 distinct languages, and the art is of course famous for its diversity and age. The reference to “welcome to country” is for visitors to the area, where local Aboriginal people formally welcome them onto the land (or country). The Nyungahs referred to on the sign are the traditional owners of the land and they comprise a nation which encompasses the south west corner of Western Australia. Oops, I can see that I’ve got a bit carried away, but needed to put this lovely sign into context.

The details:

Fabric is a reversible double knit from Knitwit, Nedlands

Pattern is the Coco top

Trousers are the Barb pants from Style Arc

Shoes are Neo from Marie Claire

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