I’m now over at www.tworandomwordsblog.com

Hi all,

Looks like I’ve been getting some traffic at this site – please note I’m now over at www.tworandomwordsblog.com, and I’ve turned off my automatic redirection. It might be worth checking if your subscription is for the old wordpress site – if so, I’d love if you updated it so you can keep following the blog!


Changing domains: bear with me

Hi everyone! Just a quick note to say I’ve switched my blog over from wordpress.com to a self-hosted wordpress.org domain. That means the domain/URL has changed from http://www.tworandomwords.wordpress.com to http://www.tworandomwordsblog.com. I’m in the process of getting everything shifted over, including comments.

For those who follow via bloglovin: I have contacted bloglovin and the process should be automatic. I think I can do the same for those who follow via email.

For those who follow via wordpress, unfortunately I don’t think I can do anything to help the shift, so if you use a different RSS feeder as well I’d love you to follow me there. For anyone who just loads up the URL, every post will be automatically redirected here so you don’t have to do anything either!

I’ve tried to make it as easy as possible for everyone (although I should have waited for redirection until AFTER everything was sorted out, whoops). Everything should look the same as I haven’t changed themes yet (that will come later). Please tell me if there are any issues with the new site, or if there’s anything missing! I’ve also changed over to disqus for the comments because I like getting notifications when people reply to my comments and I figured you would too.

Mr. Guy sent me this .gif just for this post.



Ships ahoy! Sew Dolly Clackett #2

Y’all are wonderful, truly. Every comment on my last post gave me warm fuzzies. The shorts got a good workout today, too, when we went out on a boat ride. I got to drive a boat! And previously I would have had to wear a dress (not exactly appropriate for a speedboat) or running leggings.

And, speaking of boats…Ta da!

ImageA dress with ships on it, of course.

This is my second entry in the Dolly Clackett Sewalong. I’m sure I’ve said before that I draw inspiration from Dolly Clackett – she knows what suits her, and uses TNT patterns to let the fabric take the center stage. I decided that the sewalong was the perfect time to crank out some similar dresses myself, as I’m generally lacking in this kind of casual dress.

The dress is made from a Michael Miller quilting cotton (see Dolly Clackett’s own version here). I’m not sure why so many sewers/bloggers are against quilting cotton – sure, I had some disasters when sewing with poor quality stuff when I was younger, but I would have had MORE disasters had I tried using anything less stable than a sturdy quilting cotton. ImageI’ve now learned how to sew with a heap of different fabrics, but it’s nice to come back to a fabric that you know will treat you well.

The pattern from this dress is my bodice sloper, and an a-line gathered skirt: basically, I put down my cambie skirt pattern with about 15cm extra width, so it would still be shaped but I had room to gather it.

ImageIt’s best worn with a belt because a gathered skirt isn’t the most flattering shape on me, and because there’s something squiffy going on at the front – I think the lining is sewn in a bit shorter than the shell, so it pulls up at the waist seam. It’s also a bit loose on me but I’m liking the amount of ease.

Image*Sigh* still having some fitting issues with this sloper. The shoulders are pulling a bit which I know is because the slop is drafted to have sleeves, and sleeveless dresses should finish higher on the shoulder. There’s also that combination of gaping and pulling at the bust/underarm, which I think means the bust of the dress is a bit too high. If I tighten my bra straps a bit it goes away. One day I’ll get rid of all gaping, or I’ll just get over it. Do other people not have gape, or am I just blinded and much more critical of my own sewing?

ImageI’m also happy to say the dress has pockets! Only semi-matching polka dot pockets, because why not?

ImageI made sure to hold the skirt up to me to make sure the pockets are the perfect height, as I’ve found a few patterns put them too low for me. The skirt itself is a bit too short – I initially cut it quite long then had to hack it off. And, well, I hacked off too much! It’s not like this dress would have been work appropriate anyway, but I would prefer it 1-2″ longer.

ImageConstruction wise, it’s all pretty standard for me. I lined the bodice with cream cotton (it’s all I have, okay). Bodice seams were just trimmed, and the skirt seams were overlocked. Hem is just turned over twice – should have kept the length and done a blind hem. I used an invisible zipper.

If anyone cares, my trick is to interface both sides where the zip will go, then sew the first side. Mark on the zip tape where you want the second seam to be, then pin and sew up from just below the seam. After making sure the seams line up, you can go back and finish below the seam. You do have to make sure the TOP of the dress will line up when it does up but that’s way easier than trying to get the seams lined up when sewing top-down.

ImageI’m way angrier than this when the seams don’t match



Pattern: My own sloper + gathered skirt

Fabric: 3 yards of “My Favourite Ship by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller” from fabric.com, approx. $30 after shipping, and lining from my stash

Notions: Thread and zip from my stash

Total: ~$30

What are your thoughts on quilting cotton, and how much do you think your opinion has been swayed by popular bloggers either way?

ImageLook how BIG she is now! She’s going to be huge.


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!

Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network

Elisabeth – The Sewphist and Hand Make Me Over

Emma – The Takahe Bites

Gemma – Sixty Six Stitches

Gillian – Sewing Down Under

Holly – Polucraftual

Jenna – Ruby Dust

Johanna –  Making It Well

Joy – A Charm of Magpies

Juliet – Crazy Gypsy Chronicles

Kat – Modern Vintage Cupcakes and Pieces of Us

Leimomi – The Dreamstress

Maryanne – Made Marion Craft and Sent From My iRon

MaryLouise – Thanks! I Made This Myself! 

Melissa – The Curious Kiwi

Nicola – Piccolo Presents

Nikki – Nikki’s Stitches

Sandra J – Sewist Stitch

Sandra M – Flossie FT

Sophie-Lee – Two Random Words

Teresa – Adventures of a Girl from the Naki

Wendy – Sew Biased

Zara – Off-grid Chic

The January meet up, at the zoo. There’s so many of us it’s hard to get us all in the same place at once!


Giveaway winners

Alright! Thanks to everyone for participating: we had 67 entries/comments in total, and I had a HUGE amount of people start following the blog (leading to increased strutting at work). Thanks to Jo and Thread Theory for spreading the word.

My dear husband put all the numbers into a random number generator, and the winners are:

  • Number 65, Cammie, has won the hardcopy – looks like your dad is going to get an awesome cardigan!!
  • Number 29, Fenna, has one the PDF copy  – your husband is also going to get his cardigan 😀

I bet this is you two right now:https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/wowab1.gif

Thanks to all those that entered! And thanks so much to Sarah, Morgan and Matt for providing the patterns. For those who didn’t win, Sew Squirrel will have the paper versions in stock soon to order (I’d like to buy all three, even though I own all the PDF versions already).

And sorry there’s no finished garment today – there could have been, I even finished a dress today in sunlight hours ready to be photographed; but I left my camera at my SIL’s house. Dang.


Stashbusting 2014

A lot of you will be aware of the 2013 Stash-busting challenge, where people pledged to sew a certain amount of their stashed fabric. Last year, I mainly wanted to join in because the button was so cool… but thought I was too late to join + didn’t have a blog for most of the year.

ImageWell, it’s back for another year, and I’ve decided I will join in this year. My stash isn’t as big as some people I know but still, a stash is a stash. I actually start feeling uncomfortable when it gets too big (I’ve had nightmares about that hoarders TV show), and am less likely to sew, so last year I actually got rid of a lot of fabrics I wasn’t all that keen on sewing up – I was very tough on myself and, at an estimate*, probably got rid of half my stash (most of which was given to one sister-in-law).

Nonetheless, a made garment is a hang of a lot better than fabric sitting on a shelf, and I never want to have pieces that are so precious I’ll never sew them up. Yes, I have a piece of chiffon and a piece of silk cotton that will be in there for a while, but only until I feel I have the skills to not balls them up.

So, without further ado: I, Sophie-Lee, commit to using half my stashed fabric in 2014.

I actually just counted my stash and it comes to 53 pieces in total. I have an average of 2m per piece so that’s about 106m of fabric. Plus, there may or may not be a 40% off sale at Global-That-Was this coming week (I see some wool crepe in my future…) Some of this fabric is for other people (two pairs of pants for Mr. Guy, leggings for my mum, merino’s for people) but most, of course, is for me.

Luckily I have a 3 month contract up in the far north (several hours away from any fabric stores) so I’ll be doing my very own Desert Island Sewing. So if I take up a reasonable amount of fabric I should be able to churn through it, because I WONT BE DOING 15 HOUR SHIFTS FOR THREE MONTHS! Yipee!!

ImageThis is my “I could sew any of these, any time” pile. Plus notions on the left.


These are my more specific pieces that wont get sewn in the near future (wool felt, chiffon, laces etc)

Are any of you thinking of pledging? I’m not sure how well I stick to challenges like this but it was good to actually count how much I had (and I separated some more that I’ll be selling at the next Fabric-a-Brac). Do large stashes make you nervous or do you love the idea of rolling around in that much fabric?

* I’m very bad at estimating. Once, my husband asked me how tall I thought some trees were, and I guess 100m. Also, I hate the word “guestimate”.