The Leinster Award and some good feels!

NB: This is a text heavy post, and not even a finished garment yet for goodness sake Sophie (my excuses are: I was staying at my brothers house for a week, and now it’s too bloody hot to sew!!), so I’m interspersing some gifs to entertain. I love me some gifs.


I hate Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm-Flailing Tubemen though

Thank you all for commenting on my last post. That, plus a good talk to my mum, made me come to the conclusion that the last few weeks/months of sewing have been a bit of a transition point. I guess my real goals are:

  • Don’t get caught up in pattern-hysteria. Not every cute indie pattern will look good on me, so I should just admire them on other people instead (I had been wanting to make the Colette Ceylon for yonks, but when I finally made a full muslin a month or so ago, it looked TERRIBLE, and I had to make the decision to scrap it altogether. Dropped waists are not my friend)
  • Stick to designers that I love and know fit me well – this includes Sewaholic and Gertie’s book (I need minimal changes to the patterns). My mum does this, sticking to a few clothes designers that she knows suits her body, and ignored the others that look fabulous (but not on her). This will save me some degree of disappointment. It also (hopefully) means that I can take a leap of faith with certain patterns (like the new Gabriola skirt by Sewaholic* – as she mentions this would also be awesome shortened to knee length) that I wouldn’t usually gravitate to.
  • Take inspiration from Megan, Roisin/Dolly Clackett, and Rochelle – find the patterns that suit me, and stick to them for a while (like my excessive use of the Gertie high waisted skirt), so I really get the techniques and fitting down pat, before moving onto some other challenge. This also allows once to let the fabric shine, and I figure it means you can get away with buying more expensive fabric. There’s actually a Dolly Clakett sewalong starting now!!*
  • Another great idea from my mum is to have two projects going at a time – one slow project that I’ll work on over a few weeks doing little bits here and there (like another coat), and quicker instant-gratification clothes (like mentioned above).

*Pretty crazy that I was talking to my mum this morning about both Sewaholic patterns, and Dolly Clackett – and then both of these things popped up.


In some more exciting news – Kirsty from Tea and Rainbows nominated me for a Leinster Award!

This is an award with somewhat murky beginnings, but is a kind of cool chain-letter type thing, in order to help people discover new blogs with small-ish followers (apparently only for those blogs with <200 followers, but it started off being for <3000 followers?).

The rules, as set out by Kirsty, are to answer the questions asked by the nominating blogger; state 11 random facts about oneself; nominate 11 blogs (I’m going to stick with 5, which it used to be); then pose my own questions to them.

1. What’s your guilty pleasure?
Ach, can’t even think of anything. Mr. Guy suggested that it was singing along to “Magic” by B.O.B. but… I don’t feel guilty about that, I love that song. Most of my “guilty pleasures” are actually pleasures I will tell everyone about if they asked.
2. What’s your favourite kind of fabric to work with?
Cotton sateen – the stuff I learned to sew on, which had a reasonable amount of give (for ease of fitting.. get it?) but is also stable to work with. I haven’t sewn with any for ages, which is stupid. I shall right that wrong, I promise.
3. Favourite animal?
Probably cats. Cats are pretty darned cool. Have you ever just… looked at a cat for a while? Amazing.
4. What’s your all-time-favourite sewing pattern to make?
Does anyone need more than one guess? Of course it would be Gertie’s high-waisted skirt – I’ve made it so many times (see versions one, two, three, four, and five, plus another version which is beautiful but I made the waistband too small – let me know if you have a 31″ waist and 44-47″ hips!) and I know it sews up quickly and fine-looking (thanks, Microsoft thesaurus).
5. What one sewing tool can’t you live without?
I’m guessing this doesn’t mean the basics of sewing machine, pins/thread – so I’m going to say it’s my quick unpick. Most used tool ever! I used to feel bad about how much I had to use it, but no longer. I’ve read some good quotes about quick-unpicks (along the lines of: even great seamstresses need them), but unfortunately I can’t remember them.
6. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A vet, because I love animals. But then I realised that I loved animals so much that I couldn’t hurt them (like surgery). So instead, I became…. a doctor.
7. What’s the best thing that happened to you today?
Today today (okay yesterday because I wrote most of this post yesterday) – we went to a powhiri in my honour! It was pretty scary because the only powhiri’s I’ve been to in the past, I’ve been in the second or third row, not the guest of honour. I did have a mihimihi prepared though (thanks to my brother), which was well received:
Ko Porangahau te maunga, ko Maitai te awa, ko Sophie-Lee ahau.
On the day that Kirsty commented about the award though – that was the best thing of that day. Because that day was awful otherwise – I am so sick of 15 hour days where you get pages every 10-20 minutes
8. What’s your favourite seam finish?
I must admit, it would be overlocked seams. So quick, easy and professional. I do like the look of bound seams, but in things like skirts and jackets I actually just prefer lined garments where everything is tucked away.
9. How long ago did you start sewing?
First ever – in year 10 (aged 14) , at intermediate school. I made a hideous skirt, a less-hideous skirt, and a windsock that I cut a hole in with the overlocker blade (oh, the tears)
Then later – on my mum’s machine in year 12 (age 16), I made a dress in bright pink cotton with white polka dots – it never got hemmed, and the neckline was just turned and sewed. I LOVED that dress! My mum gave me my sewing machine for my 18th birthday. I didn’t use an iron in my sewing until the end of year 13, and didn’t use one regularly until 4th year of university. I only got a steam-iron for my wedding last year (age 24).
10. If I gave you a cat, what would you name it?
“Roast Beef”, no hesitation. Hopefully some of you recognise the reference 🙂
11. Where do you get your sewing inspiration from?
Other bloggers, for the patterns I sew with; and the fabric, for the clothes I actually sew.
11 random facts about me:
1. Like 70% of the world’s population, I’m a lactard
2. I’ve had a nose job*
3. I’ve never been in a spelling bee, but I got into the Nationals of the NZ Literacy Quiz
4. I spent two months in Cuba in my last year of university. I could speak fluent Spanish at the time (and cubanos speak FAST Spanish) but now can only remember the odd phrase
5. I’m really bad at drawing. One time I tried to draw a cube and… it didn’t work.
6. I hate false modesty, which probably makes me seem cocky sometimes
7. I took my first steps because my parents were bribing me with a bag of marshmellows
8. I am incredibly messy. Like, really messy.
9. I’m really bad with deadlines, even if it’s something I want to do – it’s like my brain goes “STUFF YOU, I’m not sticking to your timetable”. For example, I was meaning to do the Archer Appreciation Month in December and already own the pattern, and I only just now realised that I missed it completely.
10. I quite often sing normal sentences. Like “it’s time to do the dishes”, “let’s go for a walk”. All different styles, too – sometimes opera-like, pop, etc. But never rap.
11. I love puns, and am now quite good at having pun conversations with my husband (and I even win, sometimes!)
*not really. I had a septoplasty when I was younger because my left nostril was obstructed, and it changed the shape of my nose slightly – hence the big ski-jump.
I’m only nominating a few blogs, because I don’t want to be too chain-letter-y (“if you don’t carry it on, your cat will turn into a bat and your favourite author won’t finish the last book of that series you love).
Questions for you ladies, if you choose to answer them, are:
1. What’s your favourite pattern company and why?
2. Pet hate?
3. Sweetest party trick?
4. Your signature dish (cooking or baking)
5. Do you love or hate rom-coms? If love – what’s your favourite?
6. Can you roll your tongue? People always laugh at me doing this because I taught myself how to roll my tongue (take that, biology teachers), but as a consequence it’s more a bowl than a roll.
7. What’s some sewing tips or tricks you can share?
8. Why did you start blogging?
9. What’s next on your sewing to-buy list
10. How many languages can you swear in?
11. Favourite thing you’ve ever made?
Entonces – hopefully I can get my motivation up to start sewing again. I’ve unpacked the stuff I brought up (only two banana boxes worth!!) and, well.. I made some poor choices. Like bringing 4 woollen fabrics, when it’s 25-30 degrees up here. But I have something that’s almost-finished and another garment already cut out, so I should have some stuff up soon!

Deer, Doe and Low: The Pavot Jacket

Please forgive me for what’s probably going to be a very self-depricating post. It starts with some bad feels, a bad haircut, and a recently finished coat that I don’t love at all.

I know, I know, I can hear you saying – “isn’t that the case with almost ALL of the things you’ve sewn recently?” and the answer is, yes. Somehow I’ve gotten myself into a sewing slump, where I’m making mistakes on a few levels – the fabric may not be right, the pattern doesn’t suit me, I try some fancy thing I’m not ready for, or/AND I rush through it, not taking the time to execute the techniques well enough.

As a person, I’m very impatient. I talk fast and expect others to talk fast. I don’t like waiting. And in my sewing, it means I want to wear the item NOW, which has often lead to taking shortcuts (I have many a dress that never received a hem, because I wanted to wear it before it was fully finished and I hate hemming). But recently I’ve come to ask myself: if I’m just rushing through to the finish line, what’s even the point? If the garment fits like RTW and the finishing is worse, why don’t I just buy all my clothes? (I did answer this question when I walked into a shop last week and promptly had to walk out again, because the biggest size they sold was 14. DAMNIT I wanted some high waisted jeans!)

Mr. Guy and I have just done a big move – two days of driving (with a very well behaved cat and dog in the car) has lead us to Rawene, a small town (population 538 – now 540) where I’ll be doing a rural GP run for the next three months. Mr. Guy will be a “kept man”, puppy daddy (yes, we just got a new puppy :D), and do casual electrical work. I’m hoping to take this time to really slow down my sewing, and enjoy each step rather than dreading it (“oh, cutting out/basting/trying on/buttonholes/hemming is my least favourite bit of sewing” – sound familiar?). Plus I’m hours away from any fabric or notions shop (I’ll be using the Made on Marion mail service) so I can’t be crow-like, getting distracted by all sorts of pretty new things.

So – for the jacket (and the haircut. Ugh it is terrible – it’s like a bowl cut on the top and longer flicky bits at the bottom. DON’T TELL ME YOU CAN’T SEE IT/IT’S NOT THAT BAD)


I was pretty keen on the design of this coat when I first saw it, thinking it my ideal style for a coat, with the peter pan collar, a-line skirt and length. And I still do like the design, just not this version of it. It took me ages to find a fabric suitable for it (and actually I think this fabric is a bit too stiff). I stupidly didn’t make a muslin because I knew it would be big enough (are warning bells starting to clang yet) – however, it ended up quite a lot too big.




I know that coats should be a bit big/not form fitting, because they’re often worn over jumpers. However I think, given the general shape of the coat, that the size is unflattering as the waist should really nip in, and there shouldn’t be large caverns in front of my bosom.


I thought I would be a fancy lady and make bound button holes. My sample worked beautifully but unfortunately the interfaced fabric was REALLY stiff, and the button placket actually wasn’t big enough to accommodate them well. Then I got fed up and grumpy and just did machine buttonholes on the facing, which are ugly and don’t line up (the bottom two buttons can’t even do up). I did take the time to bind every seam so the insides look pretty cool!


As you can see in all the photos, I’m not so happy. I think this is the item that made me really think about what I’m doing, and realise that I DO love making my own clothes, and I’m most happy when the items are unique and very well made. So I need to force myself to slow down and take the time to make beautiful clothes that are better than RTW, at least for me.

This coat didn’t even get one wear – I only finished it so I could get it out of my sight (I gave it to Tough Chick but I don’t even think she really wanted it). I actually bought some emerald green wool felt last weekend to make another coat – this one I will muslin, and will likely base off this pattern but use patterns I know fit me well. I want it to be better than the beautiful locally made $400 coats at a local shop (Duncan McLean).


Gah, I hope you all still want to read my blog after all the crappy feels I’ve been putting out there. Does it help to provide a cute photo of our new puppy, Jessie?


This photo is from when we first got her at (8 weeks old, weighing in a 5.4kg). Only two weeks later and she’s already >8kg!


TMS: Miss Bossy Patterns

So sewing this month has gone rather on the back burner; we’re moving in a week and have to pack up the whole house, then stay at my brothers house for a week, then drive two days to get to our new location. Then added to that, we cleverly decided to get a new puppy so she is taking up a lot of our time.

I do have two items close-to-finished that I will try and get done soon – but not promises.

I can, however, get ready for March’s The  Monthly Stitch challenge: Miss Bossy Patterns:


The option that won out the voting poll was “use a pattern that’s been in your stash but you haven’t sewn yet” – but this was too easy. So, the idea is for me to choose several patterns from my stash, and to have my friends/followed choose which pattern I have to sew. This was actually surprisingly easy because I don’t have that many patterns in my stash. In fact, I just looked through it and said “where are all my patterns??”. I have culled all my “unnecessary” patterns to the ones I actually want to have/sew/wear (plus a few that I don’t want to use in the near future but handy to have around, like M.C Hammer pants, and a gorilla costume – are you surprised to hear these aren’t in my “unused” pile?).

From my unused-and-should-probably-get-around-to-making pile, I have selected the following patterns:

Colette – Crepe

This one actually has been hanging around in my stash for a looong time – probably because it uses a lot of fabric and I’d need to make a muslin first. I have a navy cotton/something blend that I could use for this.

Sew Over It – Ultimate Wrap Dress

Ultimate Wrap Dress

I bought a boring but really nice Merino-Tencel blend in grey stripes for this. Hopefully it wont be too boobilicious for work.

Sew Over It – 1940’s Tea Dress

 1940s Tea Dress

I’m dreaming of this in a navy polka dotted fabric, but will make do with a purple rayon/Tencel from my stash. You may say that I’m cheating with these last two, and you’d be right – they definitely haven’t been laying around in my stash (they arrived today!) but still. I want them. So I guess it’s double cheating because I may just make it regardless (should I admit that?)

Selfless Sewing: Thread Theory – Jedediah Trousers

 Jedediah Pants Sewing pattern

I should probably get around to making these for Mr. Guy. I have some navy linen to make the shorts, and some brown corduroy for the trouser version

Butterick – 6481

This is just a plain shift dress thing that I’ve been planning to use to make a shift to wear under dresses.

Simplicity – 5393 (6 gore skirt)

(Picture from google images). A simple size-gore skirt with waistband, that I’ve had for quite a while and just haven’t picked up the excitement to make yet.

Gertie’s Book for Better Sewing – The Brocade Dress

I actually have a fabric that’s very similar, but is two-toned pink. I reckon I will really like this dress once made, but I imagine it will take some time to get the fitting right. Worth it in the end though, right?

So: which pattern should I make during March for my Miss Bossy Patterns challenge?


Papercut Patterns: Rigel Bomber

Sometimes a sewing pattern is love at first sight; other times it takes a while for the idea to rattle around in your head before you decide that it’s a good fit. That’s how it was for the Rigel Bomber; when Papercut Patterns Constellation collection came out, I wasn’t too excited about any of the patterns, thinking they weren’t my style. It only took Cirque-de-Bebe’s version, however, for me to realise that I had to at least give it a go.https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/p1060109.jpg

It took me even longer to find the fabric. After spending over 2 hours stroking fabrics at two different shops, I decided on a deep purple, drapey rayon with splotchy black spots. After being pre-washed it languished in my stash for a while before I realised that I just couldn’t imagine making it up in that fabric – instead, I purchased this navy fleece-backed sweatshirting (a burn test suggests it’s a polycotton of some kind). The pattern itself suggests a medium weight woven fabric, but I was sure it would work in a knit (and one of the model versions looks like a knit to me).


The fabric choice means it’s really warm and cuddly.

The pattern itself is excellent. It’s an unlined bomber jacket with raglan sleeves and welt pockets. The drafting is really well done, with the perfect amount of notches, and allows for a tidy finish. This was the first time I’ve done welt pockets and (after two trials) I think they ended up completely passable (though I wouldn’t recommend fleece for your first ever welt pockets!!).

A word about Papercut’s sizing – I had it in my head that their sizes run small but that’s not true at all! I did this in a size large (I think, I traced it a few weeks ago) and it’s a touch too big. I’m currently tracing of the La Sylphide and I’m a mix of small-medium! Plus, the Constellation patterns go up to a size XL now (112, 92, 118)!


Yeah they’re still not perfect, but I’m going to blame the fabric if that’s okay with you all?

Next time I make this (I will be making another, fo’ sure) I’ll use a woven fabric and line it, like most of the other versions I’ve seen – the pocket bags aren’t the prettiest (so I’d suggest tidying them/overlocking them before sewing them on) but this fleece wants to sit against the skin. If you’re not lining the jacket I would recommend sewing the pockets into the binding at the bottom – I can’t see it mentioned in the instructions (unless I missed that bit) but they line up exactly with the base of the shell fabric so I’m guessing you’re supposed to do that. Otherwise they kind of flat about when your hands are in them.


I must admit I’m quite proud of my patience with this one, really taking my time with the welt pockets. I actually used a fabric marker to draw on the stitching lines (on both sides), so I knew that the first pocket I sewed didn’t line up. I then decided to baste the pocket pieces down then sew from the wrong side where I had the lines still visible – this kind of thing proves that sometimes, the “slower” method actually works better/faster.

P1060091 P1060098P1060102

 As mentioned, they still aren’t perfect but I’m happy with them, considering the fleece didn’t want to press.

Next time I may also shorten it – yeah I’m tall but I think this would work better if it sat at my waist rather than over my hips. I’d also look at raising the neck at the front as it’s quite a lot lower than I expected and looks a bit odd over dresses with higher necks. The sleeves are a touch too short (so when lifting my arms they’re just above my wrists) so I’ll lengthen the sleeves by 1-2″.


All in all this is a very cool (warm) jumper/jacket/hoodless hoodie/bomber. In the fleece it’s a bit oversized so is sort of “boyfriends jacket” (and Mr. Guy would probably pinch it if it wasn’t too small for him), and I’m currently on the look out for some embroidery or a patch to pop on the breast. I’m definitely going to make another in a woven fabric (maybe a nice wool like this version).



Pattern: Rigel Bomber by Papercut Patterns $30, highly recommended

Fabric: Navy fleece-backed sweatshirting (poly-cotton), 1.4m $14 (I could have got away with 1.1m), black binding $4

Notions: Black knit interfacing, $2, thread $3.80 (+overlocker thread, stash), zip $4

Total: $27.80


Have you guys made anything from Papercut yet? They may seem a bit pricey, but for me they’re totally worth it (especially as you don’t pay any extra for shipping). Plus I understand how everything costs more in NZ (her printing costs are probably quite a bit). I have fabric for two La Sylphide’s once I trace and muslin it, and I may consider the Milano cape once it gets colder again. And maybe a circle top (my mum might like that one). And another Watson ape (sleeveless).


PS In other news, the new Wellington (NZ) campaign The Clothes Calling Card (video from One News, facebook page here) is an awesome new initiative letting shops know how much money they’re missing out on by not stocking larger sized clothes. This is a DARNED good idea, and I have been frustrated so many times when I realised a shop only went up to a size 14 (my bum is not a size 14).